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6 Nov 2020

civitates, Share Foundation, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network

Report documenting digital rights violations in Central & Southeastern Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic finds censorship and media manipulation

"Pandemic for digital rights: Central and Southeast Europe," Nov 2020

The global public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed that the decades-long discussion on striking a better balance between security and privacy interests still hasn’t provided the world with a better framework... [P]arts of the region of South-east Europe have felt strong pressure exerted on existing rights and freedoms throughout the course of the pandemic...[T]here has been an increase in incidents of censorship, fines and arrests of citizens and journalists, leaks of personal data, privacy violations and the denying of free access to information... [W]e have recorded 221 violations of digital rights in the context of COVID-19.

... Recommendations:

  • Urgent alignment of national personal data protection laws with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Council of Europe Convention 108+ in countries that have not yet done so
  • ... Improvement of information security standards
  • ... Technological solutions and innovations must be applied in accordance with the legal framework on personal data pro- tection and information security
  • ... Surveillance of citizens’ communications and movements must not be carried out on a massive scale