Insights & Media


Martim Bouza Serrano talks about the challenges triggered by the pandemic crisis in data protection


Martim Bouza Serrano, Partner and Coordinator of the CCA's Technology, Media and Telecommunications Department, in an interview with Jornal de Negócios, talks about the drastic challenges in the field of personal data protection and citizens' rights which the pandemic crisis unleashed. In the vast majority of cases, once the pandemic situation will be over, the restrictions imposed will be lifted and citizen monitoring will no longer be done. However, as the CCA partner warns, "there is no guarantee that the data collected will not be used by the States themselves later".

Regarding the consequences that may arise from this new reality for the right to the protection of personal data, Martim Bouza Serrano stresses that "the main danger of any limitation to privacy is precisely that of allowing measures that must be absolutely exceptional and temporary, to take effect, and for preventive or precautionary reasons, to become the new rule in a post-covid scenario". He further adds that "in some cases, the measures to combat the virus translate into attacks on freedom, whether by the establishment of disproportionate and excessive mechanisms for monitoring the population, the radical modification of the legislative process or the concentration of powers of the Prime Minister, as has happened recently in Hungary".

Martim Bouza Serrano states that "the legislation in force allows sensitive data on a particular citizen, which has been collected within the framework of the fight against covid-19, to be the subsequently transmitted to the police authorities, or even to the Tax Authority or the Social Security, provided the other legal requirements are met"; however, he warns that "the rules which govern the conditions under which the State can transmit our personal data are unclear and are clearly in violation of the GDPR".