Data can help save lives, but must be managed with great caution, say OSCE PA human rights leaders

COPENHAGEN, 8 April 2020 – As countries across the OSCE region are gathering data, including on people’s geographical movements, the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee called for careful consideration to privacy concerns.

Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (MP, Cyprus), Michael Georg Link (MP, Germany), and Kari Henriksen (MP, Norway), the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur of the OSCE PA's General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, released the following statement:

“Our medical professionals battling this terrible pandemic need accurate information to continue saving lives. Personal mobile devices can be an important tool in collecting data that will be to our collective benefit. However, we call on all authorities to exercise utmost caution in collecting personal data. Any data collection must be carefully constructed and restricted to meeting a legitimate health-related purpose, with a limited timeframe and appropriate oversight measures in place to ensure personal data cannot be misused.

“Most of us have accepted some restrictions on our daily lives on a temporary basis so that our societies can defeat this pandemic collectively. Long-term public trust in institutions and government will, however, depend on appropriate action during this emergency, and so maintaining respect for privacy must be at the forefront of our minds.”

A number of OSCE countries have put in place mobile applications intended to help track COVID-19 infections, some of them mandatory. The information gathered is intended to help medical professionals with up-to-date data in order to understand developments and fight the global pandemic.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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