Spain has already started work on phone tracking projects to help curb coronavirus (Covid-19) infections. However, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said the government won’t rule out tracing phones and using phone data to ensure citizens are complying with lockdown restrictions.
Marlaska said that phone data could be passed on to the police to find out the degree to which an individual has complied with the State of Alarm restrictions, if needed. “If we have to use the data, then we will,” he stated. However, Marlaska assured that it would be done legally, within the jurisdiction of the current legal framework.
In the last few weeks, the government has already launched an app – AsistenciaCovid19 – in some communities, which allows locals to get diagnosed for Covid-19 virtually. This app, also allows users to opt into geo-location tracking, in the event they are tested positive to track and advise others they may have been in contact about the possible risk of contagion.
Another project ‘DataCovid,’ currently carried out by the National Statistics Institute (INE) with the country’s main phone operators, aims to analyse people’s movements during the lockdown, to help alert the authorities of any overcrowded areas. However, the government had stated just a few weeks ago that all data will be completely anonymous, in line with Spain’s privacy laws.
Marlaska’s latest statement, however, has raised eyebrows and huge privacy concerns for the public over the use of private data.