Contact Tracing

A long time ago I was involved in assessing and using contact tracking solutions. It was during the Kosovo War (1998-1999) and I was working with an international charity organisation. At that time, I have not heard of Data Protection or privacy or Human Rights and did not have any safety procedures or standards to follow.

Did I do any impact assessments? I probably did but nothing related to data protection or privacy. Did the solution cause any harm to anyone? I don’t think so. However, I remembered I spent a fair amount of time reflecting on the users of the tracing systems. The main users were those affected /impacted by the War and the administrators of the systems. Would any Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) and Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) method help me back in 1998?

As part of my PhD, I examined various DPIAs and PIAs and I can say I’m not any wiser in using those impact assessments method except that now I am aware of Data Protection, data privacy and Human Rights.

Right now, I’m reflecting on the contact tracing app after reading the article – The NHS Contact Tracing App: 11 key talking points –published by the BCS. I wonder whether any of the DPIAs or PIAs method has been used by the app designers. I suspect not.

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