Published on 25/03/2020 in Innovate
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, Minister of Health, Maggie De Block, and Minister of Digital Agenda and Privacy, Philippe de Backer, have put together the ‘Data Against Corona Task Force’.
This task force’s aim is to analyze data on the spread of the virus, making use of telecom- and epidemiological data. Based on this information the task force’s goal is to:
Maggie De Block and Philippe De Backer will lead the task force. They will be joined by data specialists formerly working on the Zica and Ebola crises, as well as tech- and data experts, and environmental epidemiologists. Furthermore, telecom operators Proximus, Telenet and Orange will provide telecom data and lend their support in the analysis of the accumulated data.
Over the next few days and weeks, the task force will develop and test specific applications. A few examples:
The task force guarantees not to cross the line with regard to citizens’ privacy. The data is well protected, stating that it is impossible to link back to individuals. A citizen’s identity is and will remain completely anonymous and secure. In accordance with GDPR, an extensive DPIA (Data Privacy Impact Analysis) has been compiled, under the guidance of the Data Protection Authority. They have issued a positive opinion which includes adhering to set conditions.
Feasible applications will be selected based on their value to public health as well as their compliance with the privacy of our citizens. Even in times of need, trust in the technologies used, and data in particular, remains vital. That is why the task force aims for complete transparency. They will communicate their activities prior to the implementation of certain applications.
This Belgian initiative is being followed with interest by other countries. Acquired knowledge and best practices will be shared as much as possible, in order to battle this health crisis together.