Review

Contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic: Protection of personal information in South Africa

I M Viljoen, C de V Castelyn, A Pope, M Botes, M S Pepper

Abstract


Containing the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates the use of personal information without the consent of the person. The protection of personal information is fundamental to the rights that ensure an open and democratic society. When regulations that limit the right to privacy are issued outside of the democratic process, every effort must be made to protect personal information and privacy. The limitation of human rights must be treated as an exception to the norm, and any regulations should be drafted to ensure minimum limitation of rights, rather than to the minimum acceptable standard. The contact tracing regulations included in the COVID-19 disaster regulations include some basic principles to ensure privacy; however, other important principles are not addressed. These include principles of transparency and data security. The envisaged future use of human data for research purposes, albeit de-identified, needs to be addressed by the COVID-19 designated judge appointed under the regulations.


Authors' affiliations

I M Viljoen, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Department of Immunology, and SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

C de V Castelyn, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Department of Immunology, and SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa Centre for Ethics and Philosophy of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences Research, University of Pretoria, South Africa

A Pope, Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa

M Botes, Howard College School of Law, College of Law and Management Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

M S Pepper, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Department of Immunology, and SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2020;13(1):15-20.

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-05-11
Date published: 2020-05-11

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