Surveillance by governments in the context of the corona crisis could undermine the long-term right to privacy, warns United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on privacy Joseph Cannataci.

According to Cannataci, measures now being taken to help civilians in special circumstances may still be used after the corona crisis.

"Dictatorships and authoritarian societies often start in the face of a threat," said the UN rapporteur. "That is why it is important to be vigilant and not give away all our freedoms."

Measures are being taken worldwide to combat the corona crisis using technology. In Europe, providers in a number of countries share telecom data with the government. The Netherlands is currently investigating the possibilities for this, spokesmen for the ministries involved told last week.

The measures are continuing in a number of countries in Asia. For example, people in Taiwan are monitored via the signal from their smartphone. If that breaks down, the authorities will be at the door within fifteen minutes, the country warns.

According to Cannataci, governments should prefer voluntary resources, such as apps that require users to allow themselves to be monitored. "Any kind of data can be misused in incredible ways," he says. "If you have a leader who wants to abuse an existing system, it's too late."

See also: For example, different countries monitor the corona virus via smartphones

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The coronavirus in short

  • The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
  • You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
  • An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
  • The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
  • Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
  • Read here what precautions you should take.