[EVENTS] Confrontation talk: “Traceability during the COVID-19 pandemic”
On Tuesday, 26 May 2020, the first virtual event “Traceability during the COVID-19 pandemic” organized by Blockchain Think Thank with the support of organizations Bitcoin Association Slovenia, Slovenian Blockchain Association and Blockchain Alliance Europe took place.
Many experts, researchers, academics and lawyers discussed the legal and ethical aspects of the introduction of mobile applications for tracking infections with COVID-19, whereas the IT experts also pointed out the importance of using appropriate technologies, methods and standards so that such a solution could meet all the requirements of protecting the privacy of individuals. For the official press release (in Slovene) and the recording of the event visit Blockchain Think Tank Medium.
The event started with the opening speech by the Slovenian Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik, who advocates that the mobile application should be transparent, secure and uniform for entire Europe, whilst also taking into account various other technical and security aspects.
Following the joint introduction, the discussion took place in two working groups. The first one dealt mainly with different technological aspects, such as the selection of appropriate technology, user experience and data collection and management. Panellists Jure Pirc (president of Bitcoin Association), Peter Merc (Fintech Factory, Lemur Legal), Mitja Glavnik (Kriptovalute.si), Klemen Rupnik (president of Blokchcain Association), Zenel Batagelj (Valicon) and Martin F. Megušar (Devleet and Blockchain Think Tank), emphasized blockchain technology as one of the best technological options to encrypt data and ensure the anonymity of users and also allowing data to be stored at different points rather than in a single central database.
In the group that shook up the legal and ethical guidelines in connection with the COVID-19 infection tracking application, the discussion touched on a broader area. Panellists Anja Blaj (president of Blockchain Think Tank, Unlawcked), Tanja Bivic (president of Blockchain Alliance Europe), Marina Markežič (Unlawcked and Blockchain Think Tank Alliance), Nika Mahnič (researcher of ethics and data policy), Pika Šarf (Institute of Criminology), Gregor Plantarič (Institute 14) and dr. Aleks Jakulin (COVID-19 tracker) dealt with human rights, in connection with the justification of data collection and the legal order governing this area, as well as the reasonableness of the development of the application itself. Namely, the data show that its effectiveness requires as much as 60% penetration in society.
The meeting concluded with a joint debate, moderated by BAE president Tanja Bivic on which the panellists called for a broader societal reflection on whether the app is needed before addressing legal issues related to its use.
They also emphasized the importance that the government openly and clearly explains to its citizens how they will collect and handle their data, also pointing out the importance of user experience and involvement of appropriate public relations services after the application is accepted.