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The corona crisis, data protection and tracking apps in the EU: the Czech and Austrian COVID-19 mobile phone apps in the battle against the virus


The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 put governments under pressure to
swiftly introduce measures to protect citizens and react appropriately to the
emerging threat. This paper focuses on geo-location tracking mobile phone
applications developed in the Czech Republic and Austria to monitor
personal movement of those positively tested for COVID-19 to prevent the
further spread of the disease. The aim of the analysis is to answer the
question of whether the appsʼ functionalities complied with the EU data
protection standards and to what extent the citizensʼ right to control the
collection, evaluation and preservation of their personal data has been
violated. Both countries belonged to the pioneers in COVID-19 apps. While
they differed in several areas such as the legal and political circumstances
under which the apps were developed and public communication,
similarities between them were identified in the area of public trust in the
apps and their utilisation. In both countries, certain illiberal issues were
recognised as well.


geo-location tracking apps, COVID-19, data protection, data surveillance, liberal standards, Czech Republic, Austria

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Author Biography

Jana Stehlíková

Jana Stehlíková is a PhD candidate in International Political Relations at the
Faculty of International Relations, the Prague University of Economics and
Business. She specialises in EU affairs, digital agenda and digital
technologiesʼ impact on international relations, especially focusing on
personal data protection, e-diplomacy, online platforms and disinformation
in the European Union.