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NEWS

Short Update: Matrix Chambers publishes legal advice on smartphone contact tracing in the United Kingdom

FairTrialsAdmin - May 4, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Extended police powers, Rule of Law

Matrix Chambers together with Blackstone Chambers and AWO have issued a detailed opinion on smartphone contact tracing and other data driven proposals that are part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The main conclusions include:   

  • A de-centralised smartphone contact tracing system – the type contemplated by “DP-3T” and being considered by governments across Europe and also Apple and Google – would be likely to comply with both human rights and data protection laws. In contrast, a centralised smartphone system – which is the current UK Government proposal – is a greater interference with fundamental rights and would require significantly greater justification to be lawful. That justification has not yet been forthcoming. 

  • The UK Government’s announcements in March and April for sharing health data between the private and public sector appear to be flawed. This means such data sharing is potentially not in compliance with legal requirements. Further information needs to be provided to ensure compliance and a data impact assessment should be conducted and made public. 

  • Any attempt to introduce ‘immunity passports’ would be a dramatic measure, both socially and legally. It would need a clear scientific basis and would also have to address the significant impact on fundamental rights including the risk of indirect discrimination.   

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected] 

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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