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Corona apps pose threat to everyone's privacy

It was with great concern yesterday that Privacy First learned of the Dutch government's intention to deploy special apps to combat the Corona crisis.

Privacy First sees the use of such apps as a dangerous development, as it can lead to countless unjustified suspicions, stigmatisation, unnecessary anxiety and panic. Even "anonymised", data from such apps can still be traced back to individuals via linkage. When used on a large scale, this leads to a surveillance society in which everyone is observed and registered and people feel constantly monitored, with a societal chilling effect result. A major risk is that the collected data will be used and misused by companies and governments for multiple purposes. Moreover, in the hands of criminal organisations, this data constitutes a goldmine for criminal activities. For Privacy First, these risks of "Corona apps" do not outweigh the supposed benefits.

The right to anonymity in public spaces is a classic fundamental right and crucial to the functioning of our democratic rule of law. A democratic decision to remove this is unacceptable. Should a decision still be made to deploy "Corona apps" on a large scale, this should therefore be done strictly anonymously and on a purely voluntary basis. With individual consent in advance without any pressure, fully informed and for a legitimate, specific purpose. Privacy by design (building privacy protection into the technology) should be leading in this regard. For Privacy First, these are hard legal conditions that are non-negotiable.

Should this not be met, Privacy First will challenge it in court.