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16 Apr, 2020 11:35

Virus-tracking mobile apps must be voluntary, privacy-compliant – EU Commission

Virus-tracking mobile apps must be voluntary, privacy-compliant – EU Commission

EU states using mobile apps to contain the spread of the coronavirus should ensure such software complies with the bloc’s privacy rules and avoid using personalized location data, the European Commission said on Thursday.

The recommendations are part of a unified European approach on using technology to combat Covid-19. Several EU countries have rolled out a variety of apps, triggering criticism from data privacy activists.

“Strong privacy safeguards are a pre-requisite for the uptake of these apps, and therefore their usefulness,” European digital chief Thierry Breton said in a statement. The mobile apps should be approved by public health authorities, installed voluntarily and deleted once they are not needed and should also be based on anonymized data, according to the EU executive.

“Location data is not necessary nor recommended for the purpose of contact tracing apps, as their goal is not to follow the movements of individuals or to enforce prescriptions,” the document said, according to Reuters.