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COVID-19 tracking apps in SEE+

SEEDIG intersessional project

About the project

In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, contact tracking apps have been viewed as a sound countermeasure for containing the spread of the virus by identifying the infected individual’s circle of contacts and monitoring compliance with self-isolation regime. Since the outbreak, many governments in SEE+ countries have introduced various forms of tracking apps.

While some governments have claimed positive results in preventing the further dissemination of COVID-19 through mobile location tracking, their application has raised many red flags in terms of human rights implications, in particular with regard to privacy and data protection. While these apps are gaining momentum, we know rather little about them or how they could affect society in the future. How many people will download and use them, and how widely used do they have to be in order to be effective? What data will they collect, and who is it shared with? Are there risks that the information be used in the future for other purposes? Are there policies in place to prevent potential abuse?

Project goals:

  • Sensitise stakeholders about the deployment of tracking apps in the SEE+ region and their human rights implications.
  • Create a brainstorming space for the development of recommendations for the region.


The Working Group has published its final report with Recommendations for governments / public health authorities and developers regarding a human rights-based approach to design and deployment of COVID-19 tracking apps.


Setting the scene

An introductory online meeting was held on 2 July 2020 to set the scene for the project. It featured discussions on the status and challenges of tracing apps in the region. Participants included:

  • Mamediieva Gulsanna – Director-General of Directorate for Strategic Planning and European Integration, Ministry of Digital Transformation, Ukraine
  • Christos Lampropoulos – Ph.D. Candidate in Startups, Police Major of Hellenic Police, Greece
  • Samvel Martirosyan – Digital Security Expert, Armenia
  • Dr Arunakiry Natarajan – Project Manager and Digital Health Data Specialist, Management4health GmbH, Germany
  • Kristina Ozimec – Investigative Journalist, Platform for Investigative Journalism and Analyses (PINA), North Macedonia

The discussion was moderated by the project co-leads.

Working group

A call for volunteers was launched via the SEEDIG mailing list, to create a small working group (WG) in charge of collecting community feedback and drafting recommendations. The WG was convened based on the principle of stakeholder diversity to ensure that recommendations are not biased but provide a comprehensive overview of the issue at stake. Representatives from the countries that have launched tracking apps were especially welcomed to apply.

The WG may also host online meetings or conduct surveys to collect different points of view.


  • Drafting of recommendations (by the WG).
  • Public comments on the draft recommendations.
  • Comments are incorporated as deemed appropriate by the WG, and the recommendations are finalised.
  • The recommendations are then shared with stakeholders in SEE+ and discussed during SEEDIG 6.

Indicative timeline

Element Timeline
Announcing the project
9 June 2020
Call for WG volunteers & Short survey
9–16 June 2020
Announcing WG composition
22 June 2020
Hosting introductory online discussion with the community
2 July 2020
Drafting recommendations by the WG
29 June – 29 July 2020
Presenting draft recommendations for public consultation
30 July – 13 August 2020
Incorporating comments from the community
13–23 August 2020
Disseminating recommendations
August – September 2020


Working group

  • Ayça Atabey, Researcher at Istanbul Bilgi University IT Law Institute, Turkey and PhD student at Edinburgh University, UK
  • Bogdan Banjac, Serbia
  • Nataša Glavor, Croatia
  • Veronica Mocanu, Moldova
  • Liljana Pecova, North Macedonia
  • Ucha Seturi, Georgia
  • Hanna Strubitska, Ukraine
  • Ioana Stupariu, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania
  • Sabrina Vorbau, Project Manager at European Schoolnet, Belgium


  • Meri Baghdasaryan, YCIG Steering Committee member & SEEDIG 6 Programme Committee member, Armenia
  • Desara Dushi, Ph.D., SEEDIG Executive Committee member & Lead Albania Fellow, Albania
  • Olga Kyryliuk, Ph.D., SEEDIG Executive Committee member, CEO & Founder at The Influencer Platform, Ukraine


  • Pavlina Ittelson, Project Manager, DiploFoundation, Slovakia/USA
  • Dr Arunakiry Natarajan – Project Manager and Digital Health Data Specialist, Management4health GmbH, Germany