April 16, 2021 | 12:52 PM GMT+0800 Last Edit: November 11, 2021
The Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) is urging government and organizations around the globe to embed a privacy by design approach in using COVID-19 health data as a travel requirement amid the pandemic.
In a statement submitted to the executive committee of the GPA by COVID-19 Working Group Chair Raymund Liboro of the National Privacy Commission, embedding privacy by design will build public trust in such methods and contribute to governments’ public health strategy.
Governments and organizations worldwide are looking into implementing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 through the sharing of health information of domestic and international travelers as a prerequisite of travel. Examples of such measures are a negative COVID-19 test result, vaccination status, and digital health passports.
The joint statement views the potential sharing of health data on a mass scale across borders and entities as unprecedented or never known before.
“Admittedly, using health data for domestic or international travel purposes is justifiable to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, this must be done with the utmost care and consideration to the individual’s privacy from the outset, also called as privacy by design,” Liboro said.
Any measure adopted by governments and organizations that involve processing of personal data must be guided by effectiveness, necessity, and proportionality. Assure individuals that their health data is handled securely and for travel purposes only; that “the data demanded from them is not excessive; they have clear and accessible information to understand how their data will be used; there is a specific purpose for the processing; and their data will be retained for no longer than is necessary,” the joint statement further read.
Liboro, representing the Philippines as the lead of the GPA COVID-19 Working Group, submitted the joint statement to the executive committee of the GPA. The working group built on the successes of the COVID-19 Task Force, which Liboro also chaired.Good data protection principles in travel
The joint statement lists the following global data protection practices that governments and organizations can adhere to when they require COVID-19 health data from travelers: