Mandatory use of screening apps runs counter to WHO and European Commission

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THE António Costa’s executive this week proposed a law proposal submitted to parliament to make it mandatory to use the contact tracking application ‘StayAway Covid in work, school and academic contexts, as well as in the Armed Forces, security forces and public administration, a controversial proposal whose constitutionality was questioned.

The Government’s draft law provides for fines of up to 500 euros for non-compliance, either for the use of the application in those contexts or for the use of a mask, which the Government also wants to make mandatory in “access or permanence in public spaces and roads”.

A António Costa’s intention, which this week declared he wanted to give “a shake” in Portuguese society, contradicts the guidelines of the WHO, that em May this year published several considerations ethics on the subject, explicitly saying that “the decision to download and use an application that contributes to surveillancencia in public health or for digital proximity screening should be voluntary and informed “.

“Governments should not make the use of an application mandatory” and “a person should be free to turn off the application whenever he wants and must be free to delete it whenever he wants”, defends the United Nations health agency.

In guidelines on the use of screening applications issued in April this year, the European Commission argued that “installing an application on mobile devices should be voluntary and should not have any negative consequences for the person who decides not to download or use the application”.

Although they are not guidelines binding, these principles May to guide new Commission guidelines on the compatibility of these applications between the different member states, in order to guarantee their functionality when citizens move: “they must be voluntary, transparent, temporary, cyber insurance, use temporary and anonymous data, use technology ‘Bluetooth‘and be approved by the national health authorities “.

No European country has mandatory applications. Slovenia was the only European country to consider making the use of the screening application mandatory ‘StayHealthy‘, which started to be applied in August this year, just before the ‘StayAway Covid‘be launched, and has been adapted from that used in Germany.

Before introducing it, the government of John Jansa defended its mandatory use for people infected or quarantined, which was contested by the opposition in the Slovenian parliament, which accused the executive of slowly introducing a dictatorship into the country.

China, where the new coronavirus emerged, it was also the first country to to adopt contact tracking applications, one of which gave citizens a contagion risk code due to exposure to the virus, without which no one could enter or leave certain regions of the country.

In Turkey’s Recep Tayip Erdogan, whoever is infected like New coronavirus is required to download the application ‘Life Eve Cigar‘and its location data is shared by the Turkish Ministry of Health with the police. Whoever violates the quarantine is warned first, but then can be fined or arrested.

Singapore enforces the use of its tracking application, ‘Tracetogether‘to migrant workers who they consider to be in high risk situations, such as those in the sector construction workers sharing community dormitories or those working in ports.

In Qatar, the application ‘Ehteraz‘is mandatory for anyone who wants to walk on the street and who refuses installshe may be fined or subject to three years in prison.

On India, one of the countries with the most infected, since May which is mandatory for all workers in the sectors public and private or for people in areas under confinement install the application ‘Aarogya Setu‘, under penalty of fines or imprisonment up to two years.

The National Commission for Protection Data warned on Wednesday that the mandatory use of ‘StayAway Covid‘”raises serious questions regarding the privacy of citizens” and Associação D3 has already said that it admitted to proceeding with a precautionary measure to stop the obligation to install the application, saying Apps mandatory do not belong to a democratic Europe “.

Left Block, PCP, CDS-PP, PAN, Greens and Chega have already spoken out against the mandatory use of the application, while the leader of the PSD, Rui Rio, expressed doubts in relation to the effectiveness of such measure, referring his analysis to the appreciation in parliamentary committee.

The President of the Republic said that if constitutional doubts persist about the law that requires the use of ‘StayAway Covid‘, will send it for preventive inspection by the Constitutional Court.

The mobile application, launched on 01 September, allows you to track, quickly and anonymously and through the physical proximity between ‘smartphones‘, contagion networks by covid-19, informing users that they have been, in the last 14 days, in the same space as someone infected like New coronavirus SARS-Cov2.

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