Contact-Tracing Remain The Hardest Part of COVID 19 Prevention

Contact Tracing is the most challenging phase for data regulators.

This has been disclosed by the Global Privacy Assembly’s (GPA) CoVid Taskforce 19 and its national counterpart in the Philippines.

This is even so as economies slowly recuperate and more efforts for this method are being crafted,

In a speech, the Center for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL), NPC chair Raymund E. Liboro unveiled that a survey conducted by the GPA stated that contact-tracing and location-tracking topped as the most persistent privacy issue for many jurisdictions and organizations across the globe.

Librero said, “as one of the new emerging challenges confronting us, contact-tracing applications pose questions on proportionality and transparency requirements, privacy issues on location tracking and surveillance, and whether privacy by design approach figured in the development of these applications.”

He also added that “Data Protection Reimagined: Digital Acceleration, New Emerging Issues and the Role of Privacy Regulators in the Covid-19 Era” was the title of the joint meeting where discussions revolved around how the pandemic has intensified the use and role of data to respond to the health crisis, as well as the evolving role of data privacy authorities.

Also, Liboro included that data subjects need us now more than ever. “Our roles as data privacy authorities are significant in protecting individuals’ personal information and fostering privacy rights, especially during this time.”

The emphasis that Liboro stressed is the critical function of data privacy regulators in mitigating the breach of misuse of personal data, the collection, and processing of which may through these were initially envisioned for if epidemiological authorities are not directed on the technical and practical approaches for using and safeguarding them.

Liboro also added the Philippines’ National Privacy Commission has already started the local and foreign developments.

“Regulators do not have to learn only the technical functionality of contact-tracing technologies, but we must also understand its effectiveness and impact on our data subjects. We must let them know that we are their guide in all matters related to data privacy and data protection,” he said.

Moreover, he also mentioned that “We are here to provide them with the most relevant bulletins, guidelines, and best practices for emerging data privacy concerns.”

An associate professor for Epidemiology from Harvard University, Dr Caroline Buckee, confirmed in the CIPL-GPA joint meeting that there is indeed a need. She highlighted the need for policymakers to have more understanding of how to decode raw data into beneficial insights, narrowing the need for more data to only the essential bits.

Bucke said, “We’ve seen a really interesting sea change where from January onwards, there were companies who really want to share data and policymakers want all the insights.”

As well, she cited that the increased source of data such as from credit card transactions and the burgeoning ad tech industry.

On a desperate note, Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission assistant chief executive Zee Kin Yeong, also part of the panel, stimulated governments to reexamine data protection principles, particularly the accuracy obligation, and find ways to make it more relevant for businesses.

He said that “One thing that we’re starting to think harder about is how can we reinterpret the principle of accuracy obligation. I don’t see too much discussion about it. We need to spend some time thinking of the importance of accurate data and encouraging businesses to use the right business intelligence tools to be able to get the correct insights. And how do we translate this accuracy obligation in a way that will resonate with the companies in this point in time who are trying to make good business decisions… so that they are able to get to the road of recovery and stay on the road of recovery,”

Zee Kin also urged the government to go cross-border data exchanges in anticipation of international travels. “As economies repower, and international travel comes to mind, what we need to start considering is how do we facilitate the exchange of data, a collaboration of contact-tracing efforts for international travelers, so that we can assist the recovery of our economies,” he quipped.

To adhere to the Data Privacy Law of the Philippines, a transparent data ecosystem is defined as the collection and processing purposes, risks, storage, and disposal terms which are discussed transparently, a thing that they must adhere to.

In the end, Liboro also required to the strengthened collaboration as data privacy challenges were expected to rise amid the gradual opening up of the economy.

In the end, he told everyone that “we must continue creating knowledge and share best practices as a global community, and develop the confidence to declare to our governments and citizens that public health and personal data protection are on the same side in this time of the pandemic.”

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