Wondering about the implication of the Covid-19 on Fundamental Rights?

The European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights, has just published their report “CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IN THE EU ― FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IMPLICATIONS.”

In this report the Agency takes a wide approach covering every endeavour of life affected by the Covid-19. The report pay special attention to the following areas:

Main measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact upon social life, education, work, and freedom of movement, as well as asylum and migration.

The current impact of the virus and the made efforts to contain its spread on particular groups in society.

It states the rised incidents of xenophobic and racist discrimination, including hate crime arised by the unleashed by the coronavirus.

And last but not least, the spread of disinformation concerning the outbreak and the implications of related containment measures on data protection and privacy.

In its press release the Agency states that with the outbreak of the Covid-19, affecting the lifes of of millions of EU citizens, goverments through Europe had putted in place a wide variety of measures aiming to contain the spread of the virus. “Many of these measures reflect how, in exceptional emergency situations, the urgent need to save lives justifies restrictions on other rights, such as the freedom of movement and of assembly. This report outlines some of the measures EU Member States have put in place to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers the period 1 February – 20 March 2020.”

Regarding privacy and data protection, pages 41-42 deserve an special attention:

  • “(…) evidence collected by FRA suggests that the guidance provided by the supervisory authorities is not harmonised across Member States. For some DPAs (Belgium, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg or the Netherlands (see Table 1 in the Annex), employers may not collect and process personal data related to either symptoms or infection among employees unless workers have voluntarily provided their personal data and agreed to their processing. Others (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Spain), however, indicated that employers can request personal information related to symptoms and/or infection, if such collection is proven to be necessary.”
  • “Similarly, DPAs are divided regarding the possibility to disclose the identity of infected staff. In Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the identity of affected employees cannot be disclosed, but staff may be informed that there is a verified case in the company. For the Danish, French, German, Italian or Spanish DPAs, however, employers may disclose the identity of sick colleagues.”
  • “The same applies to a lesser extent concerning the collection of personal data on recent travel. Some DPAs consider that employers have the right to request information related to a recent trip to a “risk area”. This is the case for the data protection authorities of Denmark, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain.”


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