The operators of european mobile share data on the location of the users to track the coronavirus
The announcement comes after Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Telenor, Telia, A1 Telekom Austria and Vodafone have discussed options of monitoring with the european Commissioner for internal market and services Thierry Breton, reports Reuters.
Critics have expressed concern about the nature of potentially invasive of the measure, stating that a centralized database of location information may easily lead to a state of surveillance.
Government officials have tried to calm the fears noting that all data collected will be made anonymous and destroyed once the pandemic has been exceeded. In addition, the current strategy is to inform the agencies on the spread of the virus, not to centralise data mobile or supervise the public, said a senior official.
According to the european data protection supervisor of the data, the plan does not violate the privacy laws of the EU. The head of the EDPS Wojciech Wiewiorowski in a letter to the Commission stated that it would be “preferable” to limit the data on the location of consumers to qualified experts in epidemiology, spatial, data protection, and the science of data. He also added that the measures will be permanent.
“The EDPS underlines very often that these developments usually do not contain the possibility to take a step back when the emergency disappeared,” said Wiewiorowski. “I would like to emphasize that such a solution should still be recognized as extraordinary”.
The agreement between the EU and reflects a move similar part of Slovakia, whose parliament today approved a legislation that allows government agencies to use the location data to plot the movement of those who have contracted the virus, according to the Financial Times.