EU: Digital rights group publishes set of fundamental rights demands for Commission & member states on surveillance technologies

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Article
19 May 2020

EU use of COVID-19 contact-tracing apps raises data protection & digital surveillance concerns

Author: Elena Sánchez Nicolás, EUObserver

"New warning on virus apps' digital privacy safeguards," 12 May 2020

National authorities have already released or plan to roll out contact-tracing apps across the EU...[to] make it easier and quicker for health authorities to alert or find those potentially exposed to the coronavirus...Amnesty International warned...that the use of surveillance technologies to combat Covid-19 is...not compatible with international human rights standards and could even lead to a more intrusive digital surveillance state...MEPs on the European Parliament's committee on civil liberties warned last week that "whenever personal data is processed in the context of fighting Covid-19, data protection rules are indispensable".

[T]he Hungarian government suspended certain rights under the EU's data protection rules until the end of the state of emergency...[limiting]... rights... [in the] General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)... [including] the right to access personal data, the right to not be subjected to profiling or the right to be forgotten.

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Article
15 May 2020

Digital Rights Group Asks EU to Ban Biometric Mass Surveillance

Author: FindBiometrics

European Digital Rights (EDRi) is asking the European Union to ban all forms of biometric mass surveillance. The organization’s latest paper also calls for the suspension of any such programs that are already in place, noting that biometric surveillance is currently being explored in at least 15 EU member states.

EDRi is a digital rights collective that includes 44 civil and digital rights organizations, all of which signed off on the latest missive. They argue that biometric surveillance would violate people’s fundamental right to privacy, increase civic mistrust, suppress freedom of expression, and lead to widespread discrimination...

The organization is asking the EU and its member states to pass legislation that explicitly bans the use of biometric mass surveillance, and to drop any legislation that would legalize it. It is also asking governments to stop providing funds for the testing or development of surveillance technology, and to disclose the use of any technologies that could be leveraged for those ends...

While the European Union was reportedly considering a temporary facial recognition ban earlier in the year, those plans were eventually dropped from the final draft of a European Commission white paper. Facial recognition bans have already been passed in several U.S. municipalities...

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Report
13 May 2020

A set of fundamental rights demands for the European Commission and EU Member States

Author: European Digital Rights

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Article
13 May 2020

EDRi calls on EU Commission and Member States to ban biometric mass surveillance

Author: European Digital Rights

"Ban biometric mass surveillance!", 13 May 2020

Across Europe, highly intrusive and rights-violating facial recognition and biometric processing technologies are quietly becoming ubiquitous in our public spaces. As the European Commission consults the public on what to do, EDRi calls on the Commission and EU Member States to ensure that such technologies are comprehensively banned in both law and practice...

[M]any governments have done this in collaboration with secretive tech companies, in the absence of public debate, and without having demonstrated that the systems meet even the most basic thresholds of accountability, necessity, proportionality, legitimacy, legality or safeguarding.

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, apps and other proposals have been suggested to rapidly expand bodily and health surveillance systems under the guise of public health. However, there is a real risk that the damage caused by widening surveillance measures will last long after the pandemic is over...

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Article
13 May 2020

Explainer: Ban biometric mass surveillance

Author: European Digital Rights

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