New joint study on state surveillance measures adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic

Under Surveillance: (Mis)use of Technologies in Emergency Responses

INCLO, the European Center for Not-For-Profit Law and Privacy International publish Under Surveillance: (Mis)use of Technologies in Emergency Responses (Global lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic).

In the months following the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than half the world’s countries enacted emergency measures. With these measures came an increase in executive powers, a suspension of the rule of law and an upsurge in security protocols – with subsequent impacts on fundamental human rights. Within this broader context, we have seen a rapid and unprecedented scaling up of governments’ use of technologies to enable widespread surveillance. Surveillance technologies exacerbated the impacts of Covid-19 emergency measures on civic space by allowing governments to collect fine-grained data about individuals while also working with information on a large scale, in a way that has been unprecedented in the history of global pandemics.

INCLO, The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law and Privacy International joined together to track the negative impacts of surveillance technology and measures deployed during the Covid-19 pandemic on activist movements and organizations, in collaboration with local organizations and researchers in six countries: Daniel Ospina Celis, Lucia Camacho, Juan Carlos Upegui (Dejusticia, Colombia), Bastien Le Querrec (La Quadrature du Net, France), Amber Sinha (Pollicy, India), Nadine Sherani, Rozy Sodik, Auliya Rayyan (KontraS, Indonesia), Martin Mavenjina (Kenya Human Rights Commission), Sherylle Dass and Devon Turner (Legal Resources Centre, South Africa). In the report, we propose recommendations to ensure more human-rights-centered technological responses to future emergencies. This report is part of the Emergency Powers Coalition, a global collective of civil society organizations taking action to resist and roll back emergency powers in national laws and strengthen standards in international fora.