Amnesty International (AI) Portugal defended this Friday that making the StayAway Covid application mandatory “jeopardizes fundamental freedoms and individual rights”, also questioning the direction and “governance models” that are being followed.
“Amnesty International Portugal considers that the proposed law to make the use of the StayAway Covid application mandatory calls into question fundamental freedoms and individual rights, affecting people disproportionately and not having an objective purpose. The organization also questions the direction it is taking to be taken and the governance models that are sought to legitimize with measures of this nature “, defended the AI in a statement released this Friday.
The Government’s proposal to make the installation and use of the StayAway Covid application, which allows users to receive notifications of close contacts with infected people, mandatory, has already gone to parliament, but is generating controversy, with some parties and organizations speaking out against a measure that they consider authoritarian and a violation of civil rights and freedoms, the President of the Republic having already advanced the intention to request verification of its constitutionality.
AI also understands that the application, which “already raised serious concerns” when its use was optional, now raises, with the possibility of mandatory use, “more issues, related to the freedom and privacy of users, the application of the measure, the discrimination of several people and the true reliability of the application “.
AI asks, in relation to the application of the measure, how the inspection will be carried out by the security forces, asking whether the verification will be random and how it will evaluate which mobile phones are capable, or not, to have the application installed.
Mandatory use deprives citizens of the choice to use their own mobile phones, defended the AI, which also identifies security hazards.
“From the point of view of discrimination, this proposal raises too many questions. First, the measure assumes that everyone has a mobile phone or ‘smartphone’ with certain characteristics, as well as a data plan or access to Wi-Fi. fi “, says the statement that, citing the communication officer of the organization defending human rights, Paulo Fontes, also questions whether not having a balance on his cell phone will be punishable, as well as being in an area with worse mobile network conditions, situations that can configure discrimination against those who live in a situation of greater financial vulnerability.
AI also points out technological literacy issues for people who may have equipment compatible with the application, but lack the knowledge to use it.
“Regarding the reliability of the application, data from Pordata indicate that the use of the application by people with active work activity – including employees of the armed forces and security, and Public Administration – and students would have the application installed for about seven million inhabitants. However, not all have compatible ‘smartphones’ and the limitations related to the obligation to have the application active outside the work or school context are still here “, the statement added.
In the document, Paulo Fontes expresses doubts that this is the necessary mechanism and response and argues that “the responses we give to this crisis must be proportionate to their needs, be effective and efficient, focused on people and communities, and be completely centered and grounded in human rights “, adding that there can be” any exception “.
Portugal accounts for at least 2,149 deaths associated with covid-19 in 95,902 confirmed cases of infection, according to the latest bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).