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THE Spanish government will be using mobile phone data to track its citizens during the coronavirus lockdown, it has been announced. 

In a publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE), it was revealed that mobile operators will grant access to the geo-location data of people’s phones in a bid to discover the main points of contagion.

Data will be analysed not only from today but from when COVID-19 began to spread across the country.

The Secretary of State for Digital and Artificial Intelligence will produce a report based on the movements of people in a bid to discover the main routes of contagion.

It will then use the data to draw up a battle plan to cut down infection rates.

The Ministry of Health will also use the data to launch an app which will allow users to carry out a self-assessment.

Based on their proximity to contagion hotspots, their symptoms and other data, the app will analyse their probability of having COVID-19 while offering other advice, information and recommendations based on the results.

The measure is similar to others already carried out by the National Statistics Institute (INE) with the permission of the operators and, controversially, not the users.

However the INE assured that the data was completely anonymous.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Is there no consent needed from the Spanish Parliament?
    How will they track the population beyond 79 years of age?
    How many weeks/months will be needed to implement the app, roll it out and present the results?

    Location : Germany
  2. Consent is a function of a government licence to a network operator to which a customer has no choice.
    ‘Fancy phones’ and apps (which will just be a sugar-coating) are not required. Any device connecting to a mobile network is automatically geolocated usually within 100m depending upon cell density. Operators log that information which may, under certain circumstances, be made available to ‘authorities’. Therefore, any ‘proposed’ tracking will be instantaneous.
    To see an example of the scope of tracking have a look at this Mikael Thalen tweet regarding dispersal from a beach party earlier this month in florida: https://twitter.com/i/status/1243281598037913600

    Location : Mijas Costa

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