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Vodafone and 7 other telecom operators agreed to provide EC geolocation data from their subscribers' mobile devices.

Telecommunications companies Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Telenor, Telia and A1 Telekom Austria agreed to provide the European Commission with geolocation data from their subscribers' mobile devices as part of the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

In order to protect privacy, the European Commission will receive data in anonymous form. According to Reuters, this data will be used to coordinate measures to monitor the spread of coronavirus. The EC does not plan to centralize data from mobile devices or violate citizens' right to privacy, and when the crisis is over, all data will be deleted.

“The commission should clearly determine what data set it wants to receive, and ensure transparency for the public in order to avoid possible misunderstandings. It would also be preferable to restrict access to data and provide it only to authorized specialists in the field of geographical epidemiology, data protection and data analysis, ”said European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Wojciech Wiewiorowski.

However, Vyevorovsky also expressed concern that the provision of geolocation data by telecommunication companies may become a normal practice even after quarantine is completed.

“As the EDPS emphasizes, such measures usually do not provide for abandonment after normalizing the situation. I would like to emphasize that such a decision still needs to be considered extraordinary, ”said Vyevorovsky.

As SecurityLab previously reported, Edward Snowden also expressed concerns about continued mass surveillance after the crisis ended. According to a former CIA official, temporary measures to control the spread of coronavirus, including the use of tracking technologies, may become permanent.

Currently, governments in different countries use information technology to combat the spread of coronavirus. For example, the Israeli Ministry of Health has released an application that allows geolocation data to identify possible contacts with infected people, and the Iranian authorities massively monitor the location of their citizens through the COVID-19 information application. US authorities are also considering monitoring the movement of citizens to monitor the spread of coronavirus.