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Facts and Findings

An Unfulfilled Promise

Data That Could Have Prevented Lockdowns

Many are convinced that data-based innovations could help to fight Covid-19. But after more than a year of the corona pandemic, disillusionment is spreading: one of the most important pillars of fighting pandemic - contact tracing via the CoronaApps - has de facto failed. What are the reasons for this? Why experiences from Asian countries cannot be applied to Europe?

No democratic country in the world can point to tangible positive effects from using tracing apps alone in the fight against corona. Comparisons with Asian countries are flawed and often do not correspond to the facts. Taiwan, for instance, does not use any kind of contact tracing app, while surveillance methods in South Korea contravene our legal system and democratic principles.

The starting point is determined by Apple and Google: the design of corona apps used worldwide makes contact tracing virtually impossible. The so-called decentralised approach based on data protection may protect people’s privacy but does not provide any of the insights that public and academic health experts need.

This pandemic has repeatedly confronted us with the privacy paradox. Democratically legitimated bodies are prohibited from using location data and central data storage for a clearly defined purpose, and with all legal guarantees.

Unfortunately, the stance taken by data protection authorities in this pandemic is not exactly cohesive. But the legal framework is not to blame for this.

Read the full analysis here as a PDF.

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reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
September 24, 2020
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reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
September 24, 2020
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The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


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