Protect our health, but safeguard our privacy too

After the government announced its plans to use tracking and tracing apps to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, various parties from the Amsterdam Area have signed the ‘Safely Against Corona’ manifesto. Many problems can be solved with data and new technologies, but how do we ensure our privacy is protected? How do we create a safe digital society that benefits everyone?

The government is investigating the use of apps to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. More than 60 scientists and other experts have formulated a number of requirements they believe these apps must meet in order to protect our security, social cohesion, freedoms and rights. If the apps do not meet these requirements, the signatories will oppose their implementation.

Manifesto: Safely Against corona

  • A singular goal: to get the virus under control
  • Based on scientific insight and proven to be effective
  • Deployment of the application is, by definition, temporary
  • Information is not traceable to individuals
  • As little data as possible is used
  • No centrally stored personal data
  • Safe and not open to abuse
  • User-friendly and accessible
  • Never under duress from government and third parties

Digital region from and for everyone

Various parties in the region support this manifesto, including some of our partners: the City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Waag. With these and other parties, the Board has previously set up a movement for a responsible digital city: Tada. Douwe Schmidt, its project manager, has signed the Safely Against Corona manifesto, having been closely involved in drawing up its principles.


Tada: Data disclosed

“You should not allow this type of data to be collected by commercial parties, such as Google. It must be transparent and properly supervised.”

Board member Marleen Stikker, director of Waag and co-initiator of Tada, emphatically puts her name to this manifesto. According to Stikker, it is possible to both protect privacy and share data by building privacy protection into the design of the technology. In addition, Stikker advises the government to consider that: “It is a public matter, not a private one. You should not allow this type of data to be collected by commercial parties, such as Google. It must be transparent and properly supervised.”

Marleen Stikker on the threats the corona measures pose to our privacy.

“Whether we like it or not, these apps will set a precedent for future use of comparable invasive technologies, even after this crisis.”

One of our partners, the University of Amsterdam, has also spoken out about the usefulness and necessity of these apps. Signatory Natali Helberger, professor of Law and Digital Technology, states: “Whether we like it or not, these apps will set a precedent for future use of comparable invasive technologies, even after this crisis.”

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