Global DPAs: Data protection does not stop data sharing for Covid19 purposes

The Executive Committee of the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA; previously known as the Privacy Commissioners’ International Conference) declares that the processing of personal data in connection with fighting the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) requires a coordinated response at national and global level.

‘We are confident that data protection requirements will not stop the critical sharing of information to support efforts to tackle this global pandemic. The universal data protection principles in all our laws will enable the use of data in the public interest and still provide the protections the public expects. Data protection authorities stand ready to help facilitate swift and safe data sharing to fight COVID-19,’ the DPAs say in a statement issued yesterday.

‘Health data is considered sensitive across many jurisdictions, but work between data protection authorities and governments means we have already seen many examples of national approaches to sharing public health messages; of using the latest technology to facilitate safe and speedy consultations and diagnoses; and of creating linkages between public data systems to facilitate identification of the spread of the virus.’

‘We issue this statement … to set out our support for public bodies and health practitioners to be able to communicate directly with people, and scientific and government bodies to coordinate nationally and globally, to tackle the current COVID-19 pandemic.’

The DPAs’ statement includes weblinks to advice that 29 authorities have issued at national level, as well as guidance by the European Data Protection Board.