The consortium recommends using cell phone data to geolocate patients. There have been more than 10,000 deaths in the Spanish territory due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Spanish consortium of corporate services with blockchain technology, Alastria, presented a proposal to the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) to reform the Royal Decree Law on the state of emergency regarding the coronavirus. The initiative of the organization is to provide legal support to the government’s geolocation plan, to track its citizens’ cell phones so that it can counteract the spread of the disease COVID-19.
The action plan comes from the Ministry of Health, which commissioned the use of an application to analyze population movements and check the health capacity in each province to face the pandemic.
The idea is to include an article in the Royal Decree-Law so that health authorities can use cell phone data to geolocate patients and individuals at risk, according to an unidentified source. It was not clear if Alastria would participate again in the technological area or if its members would provide other types of assistance.
Alastria’s initiative would receive the support of its associated companies, among which are Repsol, Santander, Endesa, Siemens, BBVA, Orange, Sanitas, and Innova.
The scenario could be more complicated than it seems since the AEPD considers that the emergency cannot presuppose a suspension of the fundamental right to the protection of personal data. However, the agency stated that the protection of data could represent an obstacle to measures that government or health authorities can adopt.
There is questioning on the social networks of the plans to use users’ data to detect their possible location since it makes their privacy vulnerable. For example, the user @DavesRadar thinks that the situation could escalate due to the tracking application.
He said that many “expert scientists” are already asking for the tracking application. He explained that to be allowed to leave their homes, users must install it and take the test to determine if they are infected or not.
In response to this comment, user @daviddomingosa2 stated that this may lead to the criminalization of the sick, with the unusual excuse of contagion, and the application of punitive taxes, as well as social control. However, it will be easy for people now to begin to understand what it is all about.
The Spanish blockchain ecosystem has suspended events related to distributed ledger technology (DLT) due to the rapid spread of the disease COVID-19, against which there is still no proven vaccine.
Even in Spain, there have been reports of ransomware computer attacks against hospitals and health centers, taking advantage of the pandemic. The hackers involved have requested Bitcoin as a ransom in order not to release locked information that they may violate.
This situation led to creating a computerized containment group called COVID-19 CTI League, which is composed of cybersecurity specialists. They will be responsible for monitoring possible e-mails with malicious content, while the pandemic lasts.
The Royal Decree-Law on coronavirus alarm in Spain was issued in mid-March, but the situation in the country has become worse over the weeks, with over 10,000 deaths and 110,000 confirmed cases. Only Italy outnumbers these figures, with 14,000 deaths since the first outbreak of the disease detected in China last December.
By Alexander Salazar