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inadequate treatment of citizen data collected en masse during the pandemic. For instance, login credentials for Serbia’s national COVID-19 information system were left exposed on the web page of a health facility for eight days, long enough to be indexed and become searchable on Google, according to the SHARE Foundation, which discovered the page by accident.22 Other incidents related to health data have occurred in North Macedonia, where a list of all citizens that tested positive for COVID-19 in one city was leaked on social media;23 in Montenegro, whose National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases published online the names of citizens ordered to self-isolate;24 and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where local authorities published data about infected citizens and those in quarantine and selfisolation. At this moment it is hard to say whether data will be misused in the future, but these examples surely demonstrate the absence of awareness and respect towards citizen data held by the state. Another adverse factor in the pandemic response was that these databases were new and created ad hoc. Thus, it is hard to understand and verify whether they are in fact compliant with the personal data protection and information security legal framework. On the other hand, North Macedonia’s coronavirus tracing mobile app25 might seem like a positive development. With the use of the app being voluntary and the data being stored on the device only for 14 days, it is based on a decentralised, endpoint-hosted data store (i.e. data stored locally on mobile devices) using Bluetooth connections for contact tracing. It appears as a much more effective and less intrusive solution, in line with the European Commission guidance on apps supporting the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in relation to data protection.26 Misinformation, a global phenomenon, can cause informational disorientation and decrease trust in the media, especially taking into account controversial statements from the highest public officials.27 In Serbia, misinformation has an additional layer of concern given that media freedom has been under concerted attack for years.28 Instead of technological means to counter this global trend, the Serbian fact-checking initiative29 relied on journalists and researchers Dispatches

Profile for Meatspace Press

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

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