Deutsche Welle: Will Germans trade privacy for coronavirus protection?

“anyone looking for a way to get away from all the personal limitations we are currently experiencing cannot help but arrive at the idea of tracing contacts — that is, cellphone tracking.”

German health minister Jens Spahn

Germany’s government is debating how much privacy should and can be protected amid a pandemic.

On Monday [23 March 2020], in light of the growing urgency of COVID-19, the diesease caused by the novel coronavirus, the German government passed an amendment to the country’s existing law on protection against infection.

It originally contained a clause allowing location tracking but was eventually removed in response to criticism from civil libertarians.

“We should not let fear blind us to the importance of data protection. If the names of all those infected were to be announced on the radio starting tomorrow, many people would find it disproportionate”

Christof Stein, a spokesman for the German data protection commissioner

But despite the prevailing skepticism, a number of research institutes across Europe are working overtime to find a digital tool that could help stem the tide of the new coronavirus.

The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute is working on an app that does not use any location services, can be used voluntarily and conforms to all German data protection laws; they are confident that they will be able to present a solution to the problem within the next few weeks.

Read the full article (external link to Deusche Welle website)