Deputy commissioner Steve Wood took to the interwebs on Saturday to state: “Generalised location data trend analysis is helping to tackle the coronavirus crisis. Where this data is properly anonymised and aggregated, it does not fall under data protection law because no individual is identified.”
“In these circumstances, privacy laws are not breached as long as the appropriate safeguards are in place,” the statement added, before concluding: “The ICO has provided advice about how data protection law can continue to apply flexibly to protect lives and data. The safety and security of the public remains our primary concern. We will continue to work alongside Government to provide advice about the application of data protection law during these unprecedented times.”
Several nations – among them Israel, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong – are already using mobile phone data to track those with COVID-19, or new arrivals who are felt to be at risk of having encountered coronavirus carriers.
Now the UK has legal opinion that will let it join their ranks.