European Data Protection Supervisor
European Data Protection Supervisor



EDPS response to the COVID-19 outbreak

'The outbreak of Covid-19 is affecting our lives at an unprecedented pace. It is testing the resilience of our societies as we respond to this global crisis and try to contain its consequences, both in the short and in the long run'.

Wojciech Wiewiórowski, European Data Protection Supervisor



Covid-19 outbreak is also testing fundamental rights to data protection and privacy. EU Member States, EU institutions and Big Tech companies are trying to explore solutions to tackle the uncontrolled spread of the virus.

In the past weeks, contact tracing apps and data localisation have become a constant topic in the political agenda of the Union. Such technologies may have strong consequences on EU citizens’ lives and lead to growing inequalities.

The EDPS is cooperating with the EU institutions and the European Data Protection Board to ensure fundamental rights to be respected.

As a result, we established a Covid-19 task force to follow developments and to prepare for the future of data protection and privacy after Covid-19 crisis.


EDPS activities and action plan

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the EDPS has decided to activate its Business Continuity Plan. All EDPS staff have been teleworking as of 13 March 2020.

Since 8 June, while teleworking is still considered the norm, part of the EDPS staff can return to the office on a voluntary basis.

Read more below

External sources
  • EDPB Response to Ms Scarafia's letter regarding Amazon and COVID-19 (19/05/2020)
  • EDPB Statement on the processing of personal data in the context of reopening of borders following the COVID-19 outbreak (16/06/2020)
  • EDPB Statement on the data protection impact of the interoperability of contact tracing apps (16/06/2020)
  • EDPB Statement on restrictions on data subject rights in connection to the state of emergency in Member States (02/06/2020)
  • EDPB Response to the MEP Sophie in't Veld's letter on the use of apps in fight against coronavirus (24/04/2020)
  • EDPB response to Mrs Ďuriš Nicholsonová and Mr Jurzyca's letter on common guidance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemics (24/04/2020)
  • EDPB Guidelines on processing of health data for research purposes and on geolocalisation and tracing tools (22/04/2020)
  • EDPB Guidelines on the use of location data and contact tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak (21/04/2020)
  • EDPB Letter concerning the European Commission's draft Guidance on apps supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic (14/04/2020)
  • Global Privacy Assembly resources COVID-19


Carrying the torch in times of darkness

Thursday, 30 April, 2020

The outbreak of Covid-19 is affecting our lives at an unprecedented pace. It is testing the resilience of our societies as we respond to this global crisis and try to contain its consequences, both in the short and in the long run.

The moment you realise the world has changed: re-thinking the EDPS Strategy

Friday, 20 March, 2020

When we started our work on the Strategy for the five-year mandate of the European Data Protection Supervisor, one of the first issues we discussed was whether it should be either a living document, ready to be changed or adjusted, or a robust, future-proof plan. 


Friday, 17 July, 2020

Newsletter (N°

In this newsletter, we cover the EDPS Strategy 2020-2024 focusing on Digital Solidarity. As well as, in the context of The Hague Forum, a report on the use of Microsoft products and services by the EUIs. Finally, the EDPS published a report accompanied by a factsheet and video on Data Protection Impact Assessments and the EDPS/EDPB trainees organised a conference on Data Protection in times of COVID-19.

Orientations from the EDPS: Reactions of EU institutions as employers to the COVID-19 crisis

The European institutions, bodies and agencies have had to react to the COVID-19 crisis not only in their policy roles, but also in their roles as employers. Changes in operations, such as moving the vast majority of staff to remote working have raised numerous questions on which EUIs consulted the EDPS. 

This document compiles the advice given on questions such as teleworking tools, staff management, health data aspects and replying to data subject access requests. 

This document builds on the experience of the past months and addresses the issues that were raised to us or encountered by us and is still relevant because telework will most likely be a big part of the ‘new normal’ for EUIs work. 

Thursday, 28 May, 2020

Newsletter (N°

In this edition of the EDPS Newsletter we cover the EDPS consultation on transfers of personal data, the virtual visit at the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the new TechDispatch on contact tracing and mobile apps, the 47th DPO virtual meeting among other topics.

47th Virtual Meeting of the Data Protection Officers and the EDPS

47th Meeting of the Data Protection Officers of the EU institutions and the European Data Protection Supervisor, virtual meeting.

AgendaPDF icon
Public CommunicationPDF icon
Use of social media by EU institutions and bodiesPDF icon
Monitoring social media - risksPDF icon
Use of social media - technical aspects mitigating measures, privacy friendly social networksPDF icon
Registers - best practices findings when inspectingPDF icon
Microsoft findings and recommendationsPDF icon
Covid-19 and data protectionPDF icon

TechDispatch #1/2020: Contact Tracing with Mobile Applications

In public health, contact tracing is the process to identify individuals who have been in contact with infected persons. Proximity tracing with smartphone applications and sensors could support contact tracing. It involves processing of sensitive personal data.
What is Contact Tracing?

During epidemics of infectious diseases, such as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it is important to lower the number of new infection cases and to stop it eventually. Therefore the infection chain of onward transmissions must be interrupted. When those persons known to be infected reveal their recent contacts, other infected persons may be identified, informed and e.g. isolated already early on, even before they become aware of their infection. The process to identify contacts of known cases is called contact tracing.
A person becomes a contact of a primary case by e.g. face-to-face contact within a short distance over some time span, physical contact or spending time indoors together–all within the incubation period of e.g. up to 2 weeks for the coronavirus disease.

To establish the risk exposure in contact tracing, information about the distance between the persons and the duration of contact are important. Close contacts with high-risk exposure may then become subject to different rules or treatments.


Exchange of views with the LIBE Members on the use of personal data in the fight against Covid-19

Wojciech Wiewiórowski exchanges views with members of Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) members at European Parliament (via videolink).


Introductory remarks before the committee for European Affairs of the senate of the Republic of France - Wojciech Wiewiórowski

Introductory remarks by Wojciech Wiewiórowski  at the committee for European Affairs of the senate of the Republic of France (via videolink).

RemarksPDF icon
Questions and AnswersPDF icon

'EU Digital Solidarity: a call for a pan-European approach against the pandemic' - Wojciech Wiewiórowski

Video address by Wojciech Wiewiórowski, 'EU Digital Solidarity: a call for a pan-European approach against the pandemic', on the EDPS response to COVID-19 outbreak.


Monitoring spread of COVID-19

EDPS Comments to DG Connect of the European Commission on the monitoring of COVID-19 spread.