Corona Pandemic – Growing Interest in Location Data © Maxwell Ingham/Unsplash

In the wake of the Corona pandemic, interest in location data for the purpose of tracking the movement of infected persons is growing in Germany and elsewhere. Possible scenarios include the development of an app – currently in progress at the Robert Koch Institute, according to media reports – and access to the data of large operating system providers, as is currently planned in the USA. Alongside the clarification of technical details, the question inevitably arises as to the legal basis for such a measure. According to Ralf Poscher, director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law and head of the department of public security law, a legal foundation that would permit the use of data on population movement does not presently exist. “This would constitute an infringement of the right to informational self-determination. The statutory requirements for specific intrusive measures are not part of the German Infection Protection Act”, the expert explained to the Science Media Center. Should the legislator consider changing the law, the amendments must include reliable organizational and procedural safeguards, which preclude the use of personal data for purposes other than fighting a pandemic. The protection of the individual rights of the data subjects must also be adequately guaranteed.


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