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Govt walking thin line on privacy with COVID-19 location tracking - O'Regan

Former Constitutional Court judge, Kate O'Regan, has been appointed as the designated judge to make sure that as government uses people's personal information to trace COVID-19 transmissions, their privacy is not compromised.

Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Former Constitutional Court judge, Kate O'Regan, said that she now had to balance helping government protect people's privacy with the state's urgency to stop the spread of COVID-19.

O'Regan has been appointed as the designated judge to make sure that as government uses people's personal information to trace COVID-19 transmissions, their privacy is not compromised.

Government is now instructing mobile operators to help with information to track down unknown people who might have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the disease.

Many had raised concerns about the possibility of undue surveillance from the state.

Speaking on the Eusebius McKaiser Show on Monday, O'Regan said that a thin line had to be tread not to overstep people's privacy.

"Government has made very clear provision for the destruction of this information at the end of the state of disaster period, in other words, once government considers the risk of COVID-19 has diminished, then this information will be destroyed and that is something that the Department of Health must report both to me and Parliament as to what steps will be taken to do that."

LISTEN: Can abuses of location surveillance be prevented?

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.