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Data Protection Law & Covid-19: An Observatory

Many data-driven measures have been discussed amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, raising a variety of issues related to data protection law – a key guarantee for the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law. The Data Protection Law & Covid-19 Observatory is a collaborative monitoring platform which regularly documents data protection law resources related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance from public authorities such as data protection authorities (DPAs). The Observatory was launched on 17 March 2020 and is maintained as part of the project 'DATA-DRIVEN APPROACHES TO COVID-19 & DATA PROTECTION LAW (DPL X COVID19)'. The current structure covers several thematic areas, with a global scope but European focus.

The people behind the initiative:

DPLxCOVID19 project promotors and Observatory initiators: LSTS Directors Prof. Gloria González Fuster and Prof. Mireille Hildebrandt

Coordinator: Olga Gkotsopoulou, Danaja Fabcic Povse

Contributors: Laura Drechsler, Istvan Borocz (page on body temperature measurement), Daniela Galatova (page on the EU Covid Certificate Framework)

To explore the Observatory resources, please scroll down.

** A previous version of the Observatory (as of April 2020) can be found here.

LSTS resources

Relevant research projects

Articles, commentaries and blogposts

  • Docksey, Christopher and Christopher Kuner, 'The Coronavirus Crisis and EU Adequacy Decisions for Data Transfers', European Law Blog (3 April 2020): click here.

  • Comande, Giovanni, Denise Amram and Gianclaudio Malgieri:

    • 'Raccogliere piu dati si puo: c'e la legge', Corriere della Sera (4 April 2020): click here (Twitter link).

    • 'The democracy of emergency at the time of the coronavirus: the virtues of privacy', Opinio Juris in comparatione, preprint (April 2020): click here.

  • González Fuster, Gloria and Mireille Hildebrandt:

    • 'Opinion: Fundamental Rights More Important Than Ever', VUB Today (9 April 2020): click here.

    •  'Bescherming van persoonsgegevens is nu meer dan ooit nodig', Knack (9 April 2020): click here.

  • Malgieri, Gianclaudio, 'Data Protection and Research: A vital challenge in the era of Covid-19 Pandemic', Computer Law & Security Review (11 April 2020): click here.

  • Kuner, Christopher, 'Data crossing borders: Data Sharing and Protection in Times of Coronavirus', Verfassungsblog (15 April 2020): click here.

  • van Brakel, Rosamunde, 'Mensen zijn niet happig op invasieve surveillance', (16 April 2020): click here.

  • van Brakel, Rosamunde and Paul de Hert, 'We evolueren niet per se naa een politiestaat, maar wel blijven opletten', DeMorgen (20 April 2020): click here.

  • Malgieri, Gianclaudio and Paul de Hert, 'Special Issue: Legal and Ethical Challenges of Data Processing in the research field', Computer Law and Security Review (7 May 2020): click here.

  • van Brakel, Rosamunde and Paul de Hert, 'Anoniem maar toch gevaarlijk. Hang naar surveillance roept vragen over privacy op' - Chapter in the VUB e-book 'Post viraal naar een nieuw normaal' (June 2020): click here.

  • González Fuster, Gloria, 'Artificial Intelligence and Law Enforcement Impact on Fundamental Rights' - Chapter 6: COVID-19 Outbreak response, Study requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (July 2020): click here.

  • van Hoboken, Joris and István Böröcz, Contributors to the book 'Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives', MeatSpacePress (July 2020): click here.

  • Boehm, Franziska and Diana Dimitrova, 'FIZ Special Corona: The Corona Warning App in Germany - Data Protection Aspects', FIZ Karlsruhe (July 2020): click here.

  • Malgieri, Gianclaudio, 'The Italian COVID-19 Exposure Alert App: history and legal issues of “Immuni”', blogdroiteuropéen (17 July 2020): click here.

  • van Brakel, Rosamunde, Contributor to the article 'The COVID-19-crisis and the information polity: An overview of responses and discussions in twenty-one countries from six continents', Information Polity, (14 August 2020): click here.

  • Dumortier, Franck, 'Once upon a crisis in Belgium', PinG 5/2020 (September 2020): click here.

  • Gkotsopoulou, Olga, 'Interoperability of contact tracing apps in EU and data protection law implications', PinG 5/2020 (September 2020): click here.

  • van Brakel, Rosamunde, Contributor to the Report 'AUTOMATING SOCIETY REPORT 2020 | SPECIAL ISSUE on Automated Decision-Making Systems in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A European Perspective', Algorithm Watch (1 September 2020): click here.

  • Böröcz, István and Olga Gkotsopoulou, 'Between masks and curfews: Critical synopsis of the guidance issued by national supervisory authorities on analogue and digital body temperature measurement in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in the EU', PinG 1/2021 (January 2021): click here.

  • Gkotsopoulou, Olga and Daniela Galatova, 'The EU Digital Green Certificate proposed framework: how does it interact with data protection law?', EULawLive (24 March 2021): click here.

  • López-Guzmán, Javier,  'Tratamiento de datos personales durante la pandemia de COVID-19 – (I) Aplicaciones de rastreo de contactos', Lvcentinvs: Blog de propiedad intelectual desde Alicante (31 May 2021): click here (in Spanish).

  • López-Guzmán, Javier, 'Tratamiento de datos personales durante la pandemia de COVID-19 – (II) Pasaportes de vacunación', Lvcentinvs: Blog de propiedad intelectual desde Alicante (30 August 2021): click here (in Spanish).

Events (past and forthcoming in chronological order, including recordings, slides or transcripts)

  • Laura Drechsler as panelist in the cross-sectoral roundtable on International Transfer of Health Data, FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum (16 October 2020): click here (recording on Youtube)
  • Gloria González Fuster in the panel 'Covid-19 and International Law: Science, Tech, Trolls and the Role of Information', ESIL and the Stockholm Center for International Law and Justice (SCILJ) (10 September 2020): click here.
  • Christopher Kuner in ‘Data Protection in the age of COVID-19. Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow’, European Data Protection Supervisor (7 July 2020): click here.
  • Online Summer Academy for Global Privacy Law 2020: Confronting the new Challenges, Brussels Privacy Hub (22-26 June 2020): click here.
  • Christopher Kuner on contact tracing apps, in 'Data Protection in the Time of COVID-19 - 2nd Edition of the Data Protection handbook for Humanitarian Action', International Red Cross Committee (3 June 2020): click here.
  • Mireille Hildebrandt and Gloria González Fuster on the continuing challenge of AI & Data Protection Law in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, VUB AI Webinar Series: AI & Data-driven Solutions amid the COVID-19 Crisis (20 May 2020): click here
  • Olga Gkotsopoulou on the EU developments in relation to data protection law and contract tracing apps at New Frontiers of Data Protection & Covid-19, IRI§-Seminar - Weblaw Corona & Health series (20 May 2020): click here.

  • Gianclaudio Malgieri on 'Contact tracing: la tecnologia contro il Covid-19', Trentino Startup (8 May 2020): click here.
  • Sara Mendes Roda on 'Digital Rights and Data Protection at the age of coronavirus', PANELFIT Monthly Chat (6 May 2020): click here.
  • Gloria González Fuster on Privacy and individual liberties in the COVID-19 crisis, Mexico-EU Dialogue Think Tanks - Online Dialogues Series by the Delegation of the European Union to Mexico  (5 May 2020): click here.
  • Mireille Hildebrandt on Corona-virus tracking apps and the APPLE GOOGLE move, Radboud University (1 May 2020): click here.
  • Gianclaudio Malgieri on 'La verità, vi prego, su privacy e App Covid-19', LiderLab - Dirpolis, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (30 April 2020): click here and for the recorded video here (Youtube link).

Mentions in the news

  • van Brakel, Rosamunde, 'Privacy in the time of corona: the Coronalert app approved', Interview for VUB Today (6 October 2020): click here.
  • González Fuster, Gloria in: Pérez Colomé, Jordi, “¿Quieres volver al fútbol? Bájate esta app”. Los sistemas de rastreo que España aún no debate, EL PAÍS (5 May 2020): click here.
  • González Fuster, Gloria in: Pérez Colomé, Jordi, ' La ‘app’ Radar Covid no advierte de todos los riesgos para la privacidad de sus usuarios', EL PAÍS (18 September 2020): click here.
  • González Fuster, Gloria in: 'El Gobierno da finalmente los detalles de la brecha de seguridad de Radar Covid', Digital Policy Law News (20 November 2020): click here.
  • De Hert, Paul in: 'Pasjesmaatschappij discrimineert en polariseert', Apache (15 September 2021): click here.

Other contributions

  • Rosamunde van Brakel, Expert Member of the Interfederal Working Group on the Belgian Contact-tracing app (since May 2020): click here.

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Observatories and repositories

General resources

  • Baker McKenzie, 'Covid-19 - Data Privacy & Security Survey' (13 March 2020): click here (pdf).
  • Balboni, Paolo, ' “Public health AND Privacy” and not “Public health OR Privacy”: A collection of Guidance on COVID-19', Paolo Balboni - ICT, Privacy and Data Science (26 March 2020): click here.
  • BIRN Investigative Resource Desk, 'Digital Rights in the Time of COVID-19': click here.
  • Covid-19 Litigation, 'Open-Access Case Law Database': click: here.
  • Council of Europe, 'COVID-19 Data Protection: resources': click here.
  • Dentons, 'COVID-19: Data Privacy Analysis – Country Guides': click here.
  • EDRi, 'COVID-19 & Digital Rights: Document Pool' (since 4 May 2020): click here.
  • EUR-lex, 'COVID-19 Repository' (a non-exhaustive regularly updated list of documents related to the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic, published on EUR-Lex, per thematic area): click here.
  • European Academy for Freedom of Information and Data Protection (EAID), 'Resources on data protection in the Corona crisis': click here.
  • Future of Privacy Forum, 'COVID-19: Privacy & Data Protection Resources': click here.
  • Global Privacy Assembly, 'Data protection and Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources': click here.
  • Hogan Lovells, 'Coronavirus and data protection Guidance by data protection authorities': click here (pdf).
  • Hunton Andrews Kurth, 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center - Privacy and Cybersecurity Pandemic Resource Center': click here.
  • IAPP, 'DPA guidance on COVID-19': click here.
  • noyb/GDPRHub, 'Data Protection under COVID-19 ', click here.
  • The Syllabus, 'Coronavirus Readings, The Politics of COVID-19: Our New Regular Special Edition': click here.
  • Wilson Sonsini, 'COVID-19 Client Advisory Resource' click here.
  • Woodhams, Samuel, 'COVID-19 Digital Rights Tracker', Top10VPN: click here.

Series of posts and events

  • blogdroiteuropéen, e-conference on Data protection Issues and Covid-19: Comparative Perspectives (since 26 June 2020, daily posts except on Sundays): click here.
  • - Blog zu Datenschutz und Datensicherheit der KINAST Rechtsanwälte / - Data security and data protection blog of KINAST Attorneys at Law, 'Themenreihe Datenschutz und Corona / Series on Data Protection and Corona' : click here for (DE) and (EN).
  • Future of Privacy Forum, 'Privacy and Pandemics' (since 10 March 2020): click here.
  • Forum Privatheit, 'Corona-Tracing | Ein Blog des Forum Privatheit' (since 12 April 2020): click here.
  • Human Rights Institute, Virtual Event Series: COVID-19: Advancing Rights and Justice During a Pandemic, Columbia Law School (since 31 March 2020): click here (including recordings)

COVID-19 response (Apps, projects and other government measures)

  • AAL programme, 'AAL Solutions Supporting Older Adults during the Coronavirus Outbreak': click here.
  • Council of Europe, 'Contact Tracing Apps': click here.
  • EGSA, 'GNSS Apps for COVID-19 response': click here.
  • Eskens, Sarah, 'Contact tracing app laws in the EU': click here.
  • European Commission - DIGIT/ Joinup, 'Digital Response to COVIID-19': click here.
  • European mHealth Hub, 'mHealth solutions for managing the COVID-19 outbreak': click here.
  • European eHealth Hub platform, Repository: click here.
  • FS0C131Y, 'Covid19 Tracker Apps': click here.
  • Future of Privacy Forum, 'Privacy & Pandemics: The Role of Mobile Apps (Chart)' (April 2020): click here (pdf).
  • MIT Technology Review, 'COVID Tracing Tracker': click here; MIT Technology Review COVID Tracing Tracker DB: click here (Google Spreadsheet).
  • MyData Global:
    • COVID-19 App List: click here (public Trello group);
    • AppAssay project: click here.
  • noyb/GDPRHub, 'Projects using personal data to combat SARS-CoV-2', click here.
  • OCHA Services, 'ACAPS COVID-19: Government Measures Dataset': click here.
  • Open Government Partnership, 'Collecting Open Government Approaches to COVID-19': click here.
  • Oxford HCC, 'COVID-19 Apps & Systems': click here.
  • list of apps: click here.
  • Privacy International, 'Tracking the Global Response to COVID-19': click here.
  • Wikipedia, 'COVID-19 apps': click here.


  • Agrawal, Aditi, 'Keeping track of surveillance in the time of coronavirus', Medianama (23 March 2020): click here.
  • Gershgorn, Dave, 'We Mapped How the Coronavirus Is Driving New Surveillance Programs Around the World', OneZero Medium: click here.
  • Pandemic Big Brother, 'The pandemic gives new opportunities to Big Brother': click here.


  • Bird&Bird, 'COVID-19 & Privacy & Data Protection chart' (4 April 2020): click here.
  • Dentons, 'COVID-19 Global Labor & Employment Tracker': click here

Student privacy

  • Jones, Kyle M. L., 'COVID-19/Coronavirus and Student Privacy' (fully public Zotero Group): click here.

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