Tech companies, governments, and international agencies have all announced measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus.
Some of these measures impose severe restrictions on people’s freedoms, including to their privacy and other human rights. Unprecedented levels of surveillance, data exploitation, and misinformation are being tested across the world.
Many of those measures are based on extraordinary powers, only to be used temporarily in emergencies. Others use exemptions in data protection laws to share data.
Some may be effective and based on advice from epidemiologists, others will not be. But all of them must be temporary, necessary, and proportionate.
It is essential to keep track of them. When the pandemic is over, such extraordinary measures must be put to an end and held to account.
This page will be updated as measures are reported.
This is a collective project led by PI alongside its global Network. But we also need your help. If you know of an example we can add and track, please contact us with an open source link, at https://privacyinternational.org/contact.
Data can be essential and useful at various stages of a pandemic and public health emergency. It can also feed intelligence and policing, being highly useful for enforcement. Finally, it can be valuable for commercial exploitation. The challenge before us now is which of these do we prioritise in specific settings.
Quarantining is a significant interference with rights, which is why it is only recommended to be done under the advisement of health professionals. Using tech and data to do this can be particularly problematic.
A parliamentary panel granted Israel's Shin Bet security service an additional three weeks to use mobile phone data to track people infected with the coronavirus; prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested a six-week extension while his government drafts legislation to regulate the data use in
The Israeli company Cellebrite, best known for providing hacking software to help law enforcement agencies get inside suspects' iPhones, is now pitching its technology to help authorities pull the location data and contacts off the phones of newly-diagnosed COVID-19 patients in order to "quarantine
Citing privacy concerns, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee voted to block the Israeli government’s request for an extension to police powers to requisition mobile phone roaming data relating to those ordered to quarantine for enforcement purposes. Access had been granted for a
While the agency that manages residence permits, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, is closed, Israel has instructed Palestinians seeking to verify whether their permits to remain in Israel are still valid to download the app Al Munasiq, which grants the military access to
Thousands of Israelis have been ordered into quarantine without any right of appeal based on cellphone tracking that may be wrong because phone geolocation is insufficiently fine-grained to tell the difference between two people being in the same room and being separated by a door when dropping off
The Israeli defense minister, Naftali Bennett, has published a plan under which civilian companies including the controversial company NSO Group would cooperate with the defence establishment to fight the novel coronavirus after a sharp rise in reported cases indicated that existing methods of
Israel intends to deploy a cellphone tracking system developed in Taiwan by Chunghwa Telecom, which launched it on February 1 in Taiwan, where it was used to track the subscribers of Taiwan's five network operators. To begin, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control compiled a list of people who need to
The Israeli Ministry of Health's mobile app, "The Shield", is intended to alert users if they have been at a location in Israel at the same time as a known COVID-19 patient. The app, which is available for both Android and iOS, works by collecting the GPS and WiFi network (SSID) information of a
In response to a case brought by the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), the Arab Joint List, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction on March 19 limiting the the state's and the Shin Bet security service's use of
The Israeli compnay NSO Group, best known for the spyware it sells governments and has been used to target journalists and advocates, says it has developed a product aimed at analysing data to map people’s movements to identify who they’ve come in contact with, which can then be used to stop the
Ministers have permitted the Shin Bet security service to "use the cellular phone data of carriers of the disease to retrace their steps and identify anyone they may have infected", and will relay the information to the Health Ministry, which will send a message to those who were within two meters
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has authorised the country's internal security agency to use a previously secret tranche of mobile phone geolocation data, gathered to combat terrorism, to retrace the movements of individuals with confirmed cases of the coronavirus and identify people