Norway suspends contact-tracing app over privacy concerns

The regulator said the app presented a disproportionate risk to privacy given low download rates.

Norway suspends contact-tracing app over privacy concerns

Norway’s public health body has suspended its coronavirus contact-tracing app and deleted all data collected by the technology following an order from the country’s data protection body.

The Norwegian data protection watchdog on Friday gave the public health body (FHI) until June 23 to stop all collection of data via the app called Smittestopp.

The regulator said the app presented a disproportionate risk to privacy given low download rates, which currently stand at around 14 percent of over 16s.

Norway’s move comes after Lithuania’s privacy watchdog ordered a stop to a quarantine app for suspected violations of EU privacy rules, and as Germany prepares to roll out its contact-tracing app this week. In France and the U.K., privacy concerns have plagued the rollout of similar tools.

Norway’s privacy regulator took particular issue with the app’s collection of location data, pointing out that other contact-tracing apps do not collect this type of information.

The FHI said it had gone one step further than ordered — deleting all data already collected — and suspended use of the app while it resolves the issues.

However, the FHI said it disagreed with the data watchdog’s assessment and said the order had weakened its ability to fight the spread of the virus.

“Without the Smittestopp app, we are less equipped to prevent new outbreaks that may occur locally or nationally,” FHI director Camilla Stoltenberg said in a statement.

The health body urged people to keep the app on their phones so that the scheme can be reactivated once it has resolved the issues.

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UK caves in to EU demand to share criminal suspects’ data

Council of the EU had warned UK could be excluded from crime-fighting system if it didn't 'review' its data-sharing policy.

UK caves in to EU demand to share criminal suspects’ data

LONDON — The British government plans to grant the EU access to data on British-based criminal suspects, after years of pressure from the bloc.

Security Minister James Brokenshire announced Monday that following a review of the policy of limiting data sharing via the so-called Prüm system of law enforcement, the U.K. government now intends to start exchanging suspects’ data held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with EU countries.

It will also consult with the Scottish government whether to do the same for data held there, since this policy is a devolved competence for Scotland.

The Prüm system has become a crucial tool in the fight against crime in the EU, and includes DNA profiles and vehicle registration data, among other things, for law enforcement purposes.

The U.K. has taken part in it since July 2019, after then Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to share DNA profiles of British-based criminals with the EU, but not of criminal suspects. This decision did not go down well with other EU member countries, since London was still able to access information on suspects from them.

The Council of the EU had asked the U.K. to review its policy for data sharing by June 15 and warned the country could be excluded from the system within three months if it did not comply with the rule of reciprocity. “In order to meet that deadline, [U.K. Ambassador to the EU] Tim Barrow will shortly be instructed to notify the European institutions” of the U.K.’s decision, Brokenshire said in his written statement to parliament.

The leaders of the 27 EU countries had proposed allowing the U.K. to remain in the system after Brexit, but the European Parliament and the European Commission had pressed for the U.K. to start sharing data of suspects.

Brokenshire argued that law enforcement agencies have identified “risks and missed opportunities” associated with not sharing suspects’ data, and added that recent developments in data protection in the U.K. make it possible to share suspects’ information without the risk of innocent U.K. citizens “being caught up inappropriately in overseas criminal investigations.”

“The Government has considered the impact of sharing suspects’ data as it concerns individual freedoms,” he said. “However, I am reassured by protections applicable to England and Wales which carefully govern the retention of biometric data, and which confer protections to data from individuals who have not been convicted.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to expand on the policy change in a parliamentary statement later Monday.

Source : Politico EU More   

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