The European regulator in charge of overseeing privacy for EU institutions on Monday called for countries to develop a common COVID-19 app.
The call from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) comes after several European governments rolled out national apps, with widely differing approaches.
Polands smartphone app, for instance, involves people uploading selfies when prompted so that officials can pinpoint their exact location, and is mandatory for those infected or in quarantine. Other governments have asked people to download an app voluntarily.
But there are growing efforts to coordinate action across the EU. Last week, European researchers released the code for an app that analyses Bluetooth signals between mobile phones to detect users who are close enough to infect each other.
Now, the privacy watchdog in charge of overseeing the European Commission, Parliament and other bodies wants governments to go a step further and roll out a common app to fight the outbreak.
“The EDPS is aware that a number of EU Member States have or are in the process of developing mobile applications that use different approaches to protect public health, involving the processing of personal data in different ways. The use of temporary broadcast identifiers and bluetooth technology for contact tracing seems to be a useful path to achieve privacy and personal data protection effectively.”
“Given these divergences, the European Data Protection Supervisor calls for a pan-European model COVID-19 mobile application, coordinated at EU level. Ideally, coordination with the World Health Organisation should also take place, to ensure data protection by design globally from the start,” the EDPS chief Wojciech Wiewiórowski said this morning.
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