Guideline 04/2020 – Use of location data and contact tracing tools in the context of COVID-19 outbreak
SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION & CONTEXT
1 Governments and private actors are turning toward the use of data driven solutions as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising numerous privacy concerns.
2 The EDPB underlines that the data protection legal framework was designed to be flexible and as such, is able to achieve both an efficient response in limiting the pandemic and protecting fundamental human rights and freedoms.
3 The EDPB firmly believes that, when processing of personal data is necessary for managing the COVID-19 pandemic, data protection is indispensable to build trust, create the conditions for social acceptability of any solution, and thereby guarantee the effectiveness of these measures. Because the virus knows no borders, it seems preferable to develop a common European approach in response to the current crisis, or at least put in place an interoperable framework.
4 The EDPB generally considers that data and technology used to help fight COVID-19 should be used to empower, rather than to control, stigmatise, or repress individuals. Furthermore, while data and technology can be important tools, they have intrinsic limitations and can merely leverage the effectiveness of other public health measures. The general principles of effectiveness, necessity, and proportionality must guide any measure adopted by Member States or EU institutions that involve processing of personal data to fight COVID-19.
5 These guidelines clarify the conditions and principles for the proportionate use of location data and contact tracing tools, for two specific purposes:
using location data to support the response to the pandemic by modelling the spread of the virus so as to assess the overall effectiveness of confinement measures;
contact tracing, which aims to notify individuals of the fact that they have been in close proximity of someone who is eventually confirmed to be a carrier of the virus, in order to break the contamination chains as early as possible.