Google and Apple Exposure Notifications System: Exposure Notifications or Notified Exposures?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


On April 2020, Google and Apple announced the launch of a joint project: a system that promised to contribute to break COVID-19 contagion chains, called Exposure Notifications (EN). Countries around the world integrated EN within their public healthcare systems. This paper provides a critical inquiry on the legal and technical architecture of EN from a data protection law (DP) point of view. It is divided in two parts. In the first part we present EN as a proximity tracking tool, along with a technical description of its implementation, and a legal assessment of the contracts established between Google, Apple and governments
(or public health authorities) regarding the design of national proximity tracking
applications (apps). In the second part, the findings of the first part are critically
discussed in light of the concepts of ‘legal by design’ and ‘legal protection by
design’, building on Mireille Hildebrandt’s work. Through this conceptual approach, we examine the DP issues implied by EN’s embeddings and discuss the extent to which its design reveals a defiance to the rule of law. This contribution reiterates that the fundamental right to the protection of personal data covers both our individuality and our collective heritage of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrivacy Technologies and Policy
Subtitle of host publication10th Annual Privacy Forum, APF 2022 Warsaw, Poland, June 23–24, 2022 Proceedings
EditorsAgnieszka Gryszczyńska, Przemysław Polański, Nils Gruschka, Kai Rannenberg, Monika Adamczyk
PublisherSpringer Nature Scientific Publishing Services Ltd
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-07315-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-07314-4
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2022


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