Data Protection law can help create public trust and confidence around COVID-status certification schemes

Mar 26th '21

A blog from Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner.


From contact tracing apps to temperature checks at airports, from businesses recording customers’ details to organisations sharing health data to help the vulnerable, it is clear that the responsible use of personal data has been vital in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Public trust has been at the heart of each of these projects, and I am pleased that the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has been able to help organisations earn that trust by providing pragmatic advice to ensure data is used in a way that people feel is fair.


Now, as the UK Government reviews the prospective role of domestic COVID-status certification schemes, the ICO continues to advise on privacy considerations that can contribute to schemes earning public trust from the outset.


These are early days – and that’s exactly the right time for us to be involved. We’ve engaged with UK Government about how data protection law and regulation need not be a barrier to the responsible use of personal data in any certification scheme, and are engaging with the devolved administrations.


We understand the potential benefits of people being able to demonstrate their COVID-status, including safeguarding public health and reopening parts of the economy.


The success of any future COVID-status schemes will rely on people trusting them and having confidence in how their personal data will be used. It is crucial that, from the start, thought is given to how data can be used fairly and how this can be explained clearly to people using a scheme. Read more…


Source: ICO