Who 'Owns' the Data in a Coronavirus Tracing (And/or Tracking) App?

Coronavirus and the Law in Europe, Examining coronavirus-related legislation and its consequences in European states 2020

25 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2020

See all articles by Sjef van Erp

Sjef van Erp

University of Maastricht - Faculty of Law; Maastricht European Private Law Institute

Date Written: August 20, 2020

Abstract

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, e-health has taken a sudden leap forward. Already use cases were studied to see if by means of advanced IT tools, particularly e-health applications (apps), patients could be monitored from their homes so they did not need to visit a hospital for frequent checks. The corona pandemic gave rise to the rapid development of tracing (and/or tracking) e-health apps, which allow quickly finding the source of an infection as well as others who might have been infected because they were in the close vicinity of someone who became ill. The development and widespread use of these apps makes it even more urgent than it already was to answer questions regarding to whom the data gathered through such apps belong and what belonging means. Can the owner of the mobile device be considered the “owner” of the data, what does “ownership” then mean, do other stakeholders (such as health care providers, public health authorities) also have a claim to “ownership”?

Keywords: e-health, coronavirus apps, location and contact data, data ownership, public ownership of data

JEL Classification: K11, K32, K40

Suggested Citation

van Erp, Sjef J. H. M., Who 'Owns' the Data in a Coronavirus Tracing (And/or Tracking) App? (August 20, 2020). Coronavirus and the Law in Europe, Examining coronavirus-related legislation and its consequences in European states 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3678095 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3678095

Sjef J. H. M. Van Erp (Contact Author)

University of Maastricht - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands
+31433883341 (Phone)

Maastricht European Private Law Institute ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD
Netherlands
+31433883341 (Phone)
+31433884868 (Fax)

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