Coronavirus / Privacy and mass surveillance

Liberty responds to Government’s Track and Trace rollout

Posted on 28 May 2020

Responding to the launch of the Government’s Track and Trace strategy Gracie Bradley, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Liberty, said: “The new track and trace system was launched suddenly, with many unanswered questions. It could create a less restrictive way to protect public health but we haven’t heard how our personal data is going to be safeguarded and we don’t know how they’re going to encourage compliance without risking more arbitrary police enforcement. This is especially worrying given the draconian new powers in the Coronavirus Act which allow for police detention, forcible testing, and indefinite compulsory quarantine.

“We don’t know how this data collection fits with the planned ‘NHS Dashboard’ and what role will be played by Big Tech companies working on that project. We haven’t been given critical guarantees this data will only be used for public health and deleted as soon as possible. This is particularly concerning for people who have experienced the effects of Government data-sharing, such as NHS data being used to enforce the Hostile Environment policy. The only thing we do know is they want to keep our data for 20 years, but they haven’t said why they’re taking this alarming step.

“Now more than ever public trust is needed for this system to work. Without far more transparency and a real commitment to protecting our rights, the Government risks critically undermining that trust.”

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