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Data protection in times of Covid-19 - Comparative perspectives from Europe and beyond

Marique, Yseult and Tambou, Olivia (2020) 'Data protection in times of Covid-19 - Comparative perspectives from Europe and beyond.' Privacy in Germany. (In Press)

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Abstract

From a comparative perspective the Covid-19 pandemic provides a unique grand-scale life experience: nearly all countries have been confronted with a similar issue, that of quickly fighting the pandemic, balancing individual health with the sustainability of the national health system, and juggling economic imperatives with the duty to care for the most vulnerable individuals in society. Access and use of data are key to this difficult balancing exercise. One question arises: is the Covid-19 pandemic conducive to developing shared legal strategies or does it reinforce cultural legal features when it comes to data protection? Blogdroiteuropeen asked experts in data protection to reflect on key developments in their national systems. No definitive answer is possible as Covid-19 is not over yet. However, this preliminary information leads to the identification of six trends underlying the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on data protection. First, all countries were not equal before the pandemic due to differences in their factual and legal backgrounds. Secondly, constitutional techniques proved resilient to a large extent in general and in particular when it comes to data protection. Thirdly, the effectiveness of data protection legislation is connected to its embeddedness in the wider legal context. Fourthly, tracking the spread of Covid-19 through tracing apps may turn out to be a unicorn defeated by data protection even though different technologies have been attempted. Fifthly, aggregation of data or collective harvesting of data in some form has been implemented to very different extents, provided some data protection requirements are met. This leads to the final trend: the ever more articulated pressure on the European Union to decide how far it wants to reclaim its digital sovereignty, and what this would entail concretely. As legal systems may have to cope with the long-term consequences of Covid-19 all over the world it may be useful to take stock of these emerging trends before designing any grand scheme for post-Covid-19 society.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2020 15:39
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:17
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28614

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