Council of Europe experts release joint statement on digital contact tracing

Following the release by the Council of Europe of its first Joint Declaration on the right to data protection in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alessandra Pierucci, Chair of the Committee of Convention 108 and Jean-Philippe Walter, Data Protection Commissioner of the Council of Europe, issued a joint statement on digital contact tracing. This statement pictures digital contact questions whether digital contact tracing “apps” can be the solution to this situation. ‘Considering the absence of evidence of their efficacy, are the promises worth the predictable societal and legal risks? Where governments decide to resort to this digital contact tracing in their management of the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the legal and technical safeguards that have to be in place to mitigate the risks at stake?’  Also, since those tools have an impact on the privacy and data protection, it is crucial to “ensure that the measures and related data processing are necessary and proportionate in relation to the legitimate purpose pursued and that they reflect, at all stages, a fair balance between all interests concerned, and the rights and freedoms at stake, as the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 8) and Convention 108 + (Articles 5 and 11) prescribe”.