Well being secretary Matt Hancock. Stock image

GDPR is not going to inhibit the knowledge-driven ingredient of the UK’s coronavirus response.

That’s the concept today from Secretary of Condition for Well being and Social Care Matt Hancock, pointing out that the EU directive, which submit-Brexit United kingdom has correctly absorbed into national law, includes exceptions regarding “the frustrating community curiosity”.

In a collection of tweets, he mentioned: “GDPR does not inhibit use of knowledge for coronavirus response. GDPR has a clause excepting get the job done in the frustrating community curiosity. No a single should really constrain get the job done on responding to coronavirus thanks to knowledge protection legal guidelines.

“We are all acquiring to give up some of our liberties rights beneath GDPR have constantly been balanced versus other community interests.”

Hancock’s GDPR intervention arrives on the exact working day that the governing administration unveils its coronavirus-connected laws, intended to empower the authorities’ response to the virus.

It consists of enabling a lot more telephone and movie hearings in court docket instances, and powers to empower law enforcement and immigration officers to enforce community well being actions, together with detention and isolation “if important to secure community well being”.

It also introduces statutory sick pay back from working day a single for people today compelled into self-isolation and enabling small companies to reclaim statutory sick pay back from HMRC.

“The new actions we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Monthly bill this week will only be used when it is unquestionably important and should be timed to maximise their performance,” mentioned Hancock.

Hancock’s GDPR statement follows on from information issued past week by the Information and facts Commissioner’s Place of work (ICO).

“Details protection and electronic interaction legal guidelines do not halt Govt, the NHS or any other well being gurus from sending community well being messages to people today, both by telephone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.

“Nor does it halt them utilizing the hottest know-how to aid protected and fast consultations and diagnoses. Public bodies might need further assortment and sharing of particular knowledge to secure versus significant threats to community well being.”

The ICO, the statement ongoing, “is a affordable and pragmatic regulator, a single that does not operate in isolation from matters of significant community problem”. It extra: “Pertaining to compliance with knowledge protection, we will just take into account the powerful community curiosity in the latest well being unexpected emergency.”

Final week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson identified as on the know-how sector to perform its element in the combat versus COVID-19, the official designation of the coronavirus outbreak, with a “digital Dunkirk”. The world wide menace posed by COVID-19, nevertheless, has not stopped condition-joined APTs from seeking to exploit it.