Database Covid-19 Carriers Sparks Privacy Concerns

Cape Town - Fears about privacy and cybersecurity have been expressed following the announcement that the government was setting up a database to track anyone who might be carrying the coronavirus or who has been in contact with a carrier.

Cellphone companies have agreed to give the government subscribers’ location data. The data will be used to determine the estimated number of people with whom an infected individual has been in contact.

The director and head of the data privacy practice group at Werksmans Attorneys, Ahmore Burger-Smidt, said: “Who will be, and remain, in control of the information and records? Also, once the Covid-19 crisis has dissipated, will the personal information be destroyed, aggregated or de-identified? There are certain fundamental principles that should be adhered to when processing personal information, even if processing of personal information is taking place amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Cybersecurity expert at T-Systems SA, Lukas van der Merwe, said: “Under the act, the regulations can only be limited to the extent of the disaster; beyond that period it would be illegal.”

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