Digital tracing of contact chains

This is an “non-paper” urgently written by members of the Parlamentarian Collaborative group on Information Policy, which does not represent the position of the political parties, it has not been addressed in the decision-making bodies of any party.

Voluntary digital tracing of contact chains can be seen as a promising and well-implemented from a fundamental rights perspective as the least privacy-intrusive digital tool for managing the viral epidemic. On 5th April 2020, Helsingin Sanomat reported on a project in which the possibilities of bringing a digital contact chain tracking application to Finland have already been considered, and Minister Timo Harakka wrote on the topic in the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ blog.

In order to get the best benefit of the application, it would need to be deployed before the lockdown is lifted (May 2020). The hope is that the technology will allow better control measures to be targeted so that the coronavirus remains under control when confinement measures are dismantled and that dismantling can be achieved as quickly as possible. Implementation will require clear ownership of the application and its underlying processes, as well as possible new legislation that will allow health authorities to process personal information describing contact chains. All of the above requires careful preparation from a fundamental rights perspective and an ethical perspective. Ensuring the protection of privacy is also a precondition for the application to be accepted by the public and to reach a sufficiently wide range of users. All this can be done with open preparation.