Today, the European Commission has published guidance on the development of new apps that support the fight against coronavirus in relation to data protection. The development of such apps and their take up by citizens can have a significant impact on the treatment of the virus and can play an important role in the strategy to lift containment measures, complementing other measures like increased testing capacities. It is important, however, to ensure that EU citizens can fully trust such innovative digital solutions and can embrace them without fear. The largest possible participation of EU citizens is necessary to exploit the full potential of tracing apps.
EU rules, notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directive, provide the strongest safeguards of trustworthiness (i.e. voluntary approach, data minimisation, time limitation) for such apps to operate widely and accurately. This guidance aims to offer the necessary framework to guarantee that citizens have sufficient protection of their personal data and limitation of intrusiveness while using such apps. The European Data Protection Board was consulted on the draft guidance. By committing to those standards, the full effectiveness and compliance of such tools can be ensured, even in times of crisis.