European Data Protection Supervisor
European Data Protection Supervisor

COVID-19

COVID-19

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

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. 

Filters

22/10/2020
22
Oct
2020

ENISA Annual Privacy Forum - Wojciech Wiewiórowski

Keynote speech by Wojciech Wiewiórowski delivered at the ENISA Annual Privacy Forum (via videolink), Brussels, Belgium

15/10/2020
15
Oct
2020

Global Privacy Assembly Closed Session 2020 - At your desk

Global Privacy Assembly Closed Session 2020 - At your desk

When: 13-15 October 2020

Where: Online session

The newly renamed Global Privacy Assembly (formerly known as International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners - ICDPPC) took place this year 2020 during the period from October the 13th to October the 15th. This year's event wasn't immune to the COVID-19 pandemic currently occurring. Consequently the place of the event, which initially was planned to be held in Mexico City, had to be changed to a virtual setting, making it the first time that such an occasion was organized online.

Following you can find the resolutions adopted during this year's GPA:

 

Resolution on Facial Recognition TechnologyPDF icon
Resolution on the Role of Personal Data Protection in International Development Aid, International Humanitarian Aid and Crisis ManagementPDF icon
Resolution on Accountability in the Development and Use of Artificial IntelligencePDF icon
Resolution on the Privacy and Data Protection Challenges arising from the COVID-19 PandemicPDF icon
Resolution on Joint Statements on Emerging IssuesPDF icon
01/09/2020
1
Sep
2020

Orientations from the EDPS: Body temperature checks by EU institutions in the context of the COVID-19 crisis

A number of European institutions, agencies and bodies (EUIs) have implemented body temperature checks as part of the health and safety measures adopted in the context of their “return to the office” strategy as an appropriate complementary measure, among other necessary health and safety measures, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 contamination.

At the same time, systematic body temperature checks of staff and other visitors to filter access to EUIs premises may constitute an interference into individuals’ rights to private life and/or personal data protection. The EDPS observes that body temperature checks can be implemented through a variety of devices and processes that should be subject to careful assessment. The EDPS has decided to issue the present orientations to help EUIs and Data Protection Officers (DPOs) meet the requirements of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 (the Regulation), where applicable.

01/09/2020
1
Sep
2020

Body temperature checks by EU institutions: Careful assessment and data protection safeguards are necessary

The European Data Protection Supervisor issued today orientations on the use of body temperature checks by Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies (EUIs) in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, highlighting that a careful assessment and appropriate data protection safeguards are necessary.  

Friday, 17 July, 2020
17
Jul
2020

Newsletter (N°
81
)

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.
15/07/2020
15
Jul
2020

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. 

09/07/2020
9
Jul
2020

EDPS comments on cross-border exchange of data between national Covid-19 contact tracing and warning mobile applications

EDPS comments on the Commission draft implementing decision amending Implementing Decision 2019/1765 as regards the cross-border exchange of data between national contact tracing and warning mobile applications with regard to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

12/06/2020
12
Jun
2020

EDPS comments on the proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2011/16/EU due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Comments of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2011/16/EU to address the urgent need for deferring certain time limits for the filing and exchange of information in the field of taxation due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, 28 May, 2020
28
May
2020

Newsletter (N°
80
)

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.
08/05/2020
8
May
2020

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
07/05/2020
7
May
2020

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.

To read the HTML edition, click the title above.
To read the PDF edition, click the EN button below.

07/05/2020
7
May
2020

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).

27/04/2020
27
Apr
2020

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
06/04/2020
6
Apr
2020

'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.

25/03/2020
25
Mar
2020

Monitoring spread of COVID-19

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