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Written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (together with ORG, Article 19, Index on Censorship 2020) - Digital Contact Tracing Apps (NHSX)

Written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (together with ORG, Article 19, Index on Censorship 2020) - Digital Contact Tracing Apps (NHSX)

Chowdhury, Niaz, Coldicutt, Rachel, Corrigan, Ray, Crowcroft, Jon, Gervassis, Nicholas, Grossman, Wendy, Harkens, Adam, Henderson, Tristan, Hintz, Arne, Huppert, Julian, Karanasiou, Argyro ORCID: 0000-0002-3268-4019, Korff, Douwe, Jackman, MIles, Map, Maureen, McEvedy, Victoria, McStay, Andrew, Phippen, Andy, Price, Blaine, Romero Moreno, Felippe, Rosner, Gilad, Ruiz, Javier, Callender Smith, Robin, Sommer, Peter, Tambini, Damian and Veale, Michael (2020) Written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (together with ORG, Article 19, Index on Censorship 2020) - Digital Contact Tracing Apps (NHSX). Technical Report. UK Parliament, London, UK.

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Abstract

We welcome the JCHR aim of providing certainty and comprehensive protection for individuals’ rights, in light of the upcoming deployment of the NHSX Contact Tracing system. Clarifying the available safeguards would allow the public to better understand the functioning of the NHSX application, the consequences for their rights, and the remedies at their disposal. Further, as emergency situations may require rapid and bold responses, and protections of rights enshrined in law should be strengthened accordingly: in turn, public scrutiny and enforcement of rights would be enabled to keep pace with such rapid developments. Likewise, we reject Matt Hancock’s communication to the JCHR that a Bill is unnecessary as sufficient safeguards are present in Data Protection legislation and other general policy commitments; they are not. Data protection regulations leave a scope for differing protections and approaches, as they are not tailored to the situation at hand. On the other hand, public confidence would benefit greatly from a more specific approach which ensures particularly high protections.
Having said that, we are concerned about a number of issues raised in the current text of the draft Digital Contact Tracing (Data Protection) Bill.
We have divided those concerns into three groups:
 Missed Opportunities: we believe the Bill overlooks certain risks, whose potential for undermining public trust is significantly high;
 Overlaps and Coordination with the GDPR: we find that some provisions enshrined in this Bill are at risk of overlapping, conflicting or not properly coordinating with the current data protection regime;
 Other Areas for Improvements: finally, we cover certain aspects of the Bill which could be improved upon, in order to better attain the purposes of this Bill.
Each of these groups entails a number of issues, each (i) introducing the clause or clauses being discussed, (ii) briefly analysing the issues being raised, and (iii) recommending suitable changes to the Bill. With this, we hope to contribute to ensuring that the Joint Committee on Human Rights Bill can really provide citizens with choice, control and confidence over the Government use of their personal data. Please note that these concerns and considerations are not exhaustive. We would thus welcome the opportunity to discuss these concerns with the JCHR with a view to furthering and enhancing their work on technological responses to COVID-19.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: parliamentary evidence
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2021 11:33
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/31173

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