Thomas Pringle TD

Thomas Pringle TD – Concerns Over Tracing App

The issue of the testing app that will be rolled out was previously raised with the HSE. There are concerns about its safety, the criteria that will be used and for what purpose the information will be used. The Council of Europe, the human rights body of which Ireland has been a member for many years, issued a statement this week on the use of such apps across Europe.
It questions how voluntary the voluntary participation will be. We need to consider this issue. It states that there will inevitably be social pressure on individuals to download and use the apps and, furthermore, that many public health regimes incentivise participation or penalise citizens for not voluntarily participating. For example, Israel places its citizens lower on waiting lists if they do not agree to voluntarily donate their organs.
Questions have been raised regarding where the data is being stored and who will get to see it. In the United Kingdom, its Government intentionally chose a model incentivised towards continually asking for increasing amounts of private information. Legislation requires a formal assessment of the proportionality of Government usage of personal information as balanced against the legitimate aim of protecting the population.
Personal information is afforded special protection under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. If such an app is to be rolled out here, is the necessary legislation being prepared and will it meet the standards set out in Article 8?