COVID-19 - measures terminated, privacy intrusions continue. And the lessons for the future?
Alongside other fundamental rights and freedoms, many of the measures taken to combat COVID-19 also infringed the right to privacy. These were often sweeping interventions involving the collection of large categories of personal data from large numbers of individuals. Now that most of the measures have been discontinued (hopefully not only temporarily), it is also a good time to recapitulate the intrusions on our privacy and, in the author's assessment, to reflect on lessons for the future.
Indeed, in view of the evolution of COVID-19 to date, the measures are taken to combat it, and future expectations, it is not enough to limit oneself to a "classic recapitulation" of the privacy intrusions that have occurred during the waves of COVID-19 to date. In doing so, we would summarize everything that has happened, evaluate the most serious invasions of privacy, and assess the effectiveness of the individual measures from today's perspective, as well as their constitutional proportionality (recall the many court decisions that have repeatedly struck down many of the measures).
The author also attempts to predict future developments - have the various authorities become so accustomed to the emergency measures that they will continue to require them in the future? Have the authorities issued emergency measures learned from court decisions and from the alleged fundamental flaws? And what can be expected in the legislative field?
The WHO has recently warned of an early declaration of the end of COVID-19, with some predictions suggesting that another wave is imminent this autumn. In response to the now more than two years of experience with emergency measures, the Czech Republic has adopted some legislative changes - are these changes lessen or deepen the invasion of privacy? In the event of another wave, would the government be forced to improvise again, i.e. to issue repeated emergency measures that will be overturned by the courts and declared illegal?
Miroslav is active at LEGALITÉ law firm and as a director of the company LEGALITÉ Data Protection Services s.r.o. focusing on data and information security.
In his legal practice, Miroslav specializes in administrative law and regulatory issues related to network industries, especially the electronic communications industry, privacy protection, compliance and litigation court and arbitration proceedings. In his practice he uses his practical experience and knowledge of the electronic communications sector and related areas (TV broadcasting, payment transactions regulation etc.) and also his 18 years’ experience in managerial positions at an electronic services provider where he was responsible for the Legal, Regulatory, External Affairs, Business Security and Compliance units; in the years 2007 – 2016 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Mobile Network Operators.
He is also a member of the commission on Public Law – Administrative Law of the Legislative Council of the Czech Government, a member of the remonstrance commission of the Energy Regulatory Office and an arbitrator of the Arbitration Court attached to the Economic Chamber of the CR and the Agricultural Chamber of the CR and of the International Arbitration Court of the Czech Commodity Exchange, he is also a member of the UNICEF CR Executive Committee.