August 10, 2020

Volume X, Number 223

August 10, 2020

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COVID-19: Poland Launches an Official Tracking App

Poland’s Ministry of Digital Affairs and the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate have launched ProteGO, one of EU’s first official COVID-19 tracking applications. The Minister of Digital Affairs, Marek Zagórski, has been quoted as saying that his ultimate objective is for every smartphone user in Poland to use the app.

The current version requires users to enter their data themselves for the purposes of health self-monitoring. According to Ministry sources, it will soon be supplemented with a Bluetooth module, so as to collect information about encountered devices and inform about contacts with COVID-19-positive persons.

In order to comply with the GDPR, the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate is the data controller. It states that ProteGO is designed in accordance with the principles of Privacy by Default and Privacy by Design, and the agency does not seek to obtain from the app users any information that will enable their identification (i.e. personal data), but that it may so happen that, when users use the app, they will provide the data controller with so much information that it will be able to identify the user (even indirectly). This processed personal data is not disclosed to anyone in a form that would allow users to be identified.

This is the second government-offered application, following Kwarantanna Domowa (Home Quarantine) – an app developed by the Ministry of Digital Affairs to facilitate and streamline compulsory quarantine at home. The app enables confirmation of the location of a person subject to quarantine restrictions and the ability to conduct a basic health assessment. It also allows for immediate access to the necessary quarantine information, as well as the ability to contact the local social welfare institutions, which can assist in purchasing medicines or food supplies. Although initially voluntary in nature, it has become mandatory for all those under obligatory quarantine or epidemiological surveillance, as a tool to confirm compliance with quarantine obligations (e.g. whether the ban on leaving the quarantine location is observed).

The data privacy concerns raised by the COVID-19 tracking app, particularly with regard to its use of location tracking, have been vehemently debated, especially in Europe, where privacy protection has been significantly strengthened in recent years. However, an ever increasing number of countries have been introducing such apps in order to contain the coronavirus pandemic, which is crucial to lifting the preventive measures and resuming business as usual.

While there are, and will continue to be, certain privacy concerns over the use of such tracking apps, particular opportunities to track potential COVID-19 exposure and assess limited need to quarantine may be vital to, for instance, maintaining production plant operations and avoiding closures where it can be proven that a particular case had no contacts with other shifts or has not been to other parts of the facility. As always, the principles of data minimization, time limitation and voluntary approach will need to be followed and finding the right balance will be key.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 115


About this Author

Senior Associate
  • Magdalena’s practice focus is intellectual property law and cybersecurity and privacy regulations. She has a wide-ranging experience in handling both copyright and trademark matters. In addition, Magdalena handles issues that relate to unfair competition, brand protection and methods of executing intellectual property rights for a variety of clients in different sectors.


  • Managing clients’ IP portfolio, handling copyright and trademark infringement, involved in IP litigation, counseling on...
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Małgorzata Grzelak Labor & Employment Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Warsaw, Poland

Małgorzata Grzelak heads the Warsaw Labor & Employment team. Małgorzata’s practice focuses on labor, employment and immigration laws, as well as related corporate and commercial issues. She advises clients in the production, commercial and service sectors, with particular focus on advising IT/technology, shared services centers/BPO and medical technology/products companies.

Małgorzata provides advice to investors outside Poland in the course of their commercial activities on investment processes, including all aspects of setting up a business presence in Poland, acquisition or leasing of real estate, structuring of labor and employment relations, immigration, and various corporate and contract law issues. She counsels both local and international entrepreneurs conducting business in Poland with respect to contract, collective and individual labor law and real estate law. Małgorzata also advises clients on various aspects of occupational safety and health regulations.

She has served as counsel in numerous merger and acquisition transactions and restructuring processes, particularly with the development of principles and procedures for employee takeovers and the legal aspects of remuneration systems and labor organizations, and often including significant real estate components. She also advises on closing operations in Poland, including mass redundancies.

Małgorzata is recognized in Chambers Europe 2019 as up and coming, recommended in The Legal 500 EMEA 2018 and listed in PLC Which lawyer? Yearbook 2009. Małgorzata is co-author of “EU Competition Law: ECJ Judgments in 1990 – 2004” and “EU Competition Law: CFI Judgments in 1990 – 2004,” as well as Legal Guidance for Establishing Corporations in 40 Countries & Regions and a chapter on Polish Immigration Law in Inside the Minds: Immigration Law Client Strategies in the EU.

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