Many data-driven measures have been discussed amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, raising a variety of issues related to data protection law – a key guarantee for the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law. LSTS has been at the forefront of their coverage, launching on 17/03/2020 Data Protection Law & the Covid-19 Outbreak, a collaborative monitoring platform.
DPL x COVID19 will sustain these efforts and provide usable guidance on two key aspects at the top of European Union (EU) and national policy and research agendas:
• Digital apps for Covid-19 (to track virus spread, prevent infection, facilitate mobility of those with antibodies: ‘corona-apps’) and data protection: The European Commission (EC) has issued a Recommendation entailing ‘a common EU approach for the use of mobile applications and mobile data in response to the coronavirus pandemic’ in which reporting from Member States and EU level coordination will be key. This urgently demands identifying legal requirements to assess EU and national room for manoeuvre;
1 DPL x COVID19
• Covid-19-related scientific research and data protection: we wish to put our expertise at the service of the research community and first and foremost VUB researchers, tackling practical challenges for data protection implementation. We aim to alleviate pressure on individual researchers or PIs who require an ethical review from the Ethics Committee when developing research proposals. Our initiative will strengthen the VUB Data Protection Office by encouraging and facilitating early data protection self-assessment by researchers themselves.
We will amplify our platform keeping track of local, EU and global developments, to further inform VUB’s own research and for the broader academic community.