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Covid – 19 and Data Protection

Covid – 19 and Data Protection

Serbia
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In the light of the pandemic of COVID – 19, controllers are processing different types of personal data in their reasonable effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Such processing must comply with the Serbian Law on Personal Data Protection (“LPDP”).

Every processing should be following data protection principles, including the current atypical processing of personal data caused by the pandemic.

To provide a safe working environment and to protect the health of employees, we are of the opinion that the employers may process personal data of employees related to:

  • their travel history (whether and when the employee visited countries considered to be at risk; whether the employee was in contact with anyone who has visited those countries recently);
  • their health data related to the presence of symptoms of COVID – 19.

The employers are not allowed to perform medical checks, but only to process employees’ personal data that is adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary to obtain a safe working environment and prevent the spreading of COVID-19.

The employers may reveal personal data of potentially infected employees/s within the organisation to prevent spreading COVID – 19 within the organization and in the community.

Legal grounds on which controllers may rely for the processing of data not considered as health data is processing that is necessary in order to protect the vital interest of the data subjects or another natural person (Article 12 Paragraph 1 item 4 of the LPDP) as well as legal obligation of the employer to obtain safe working environment (Article 12 Paragraph 1 item 3 of the LPDP). The latter is further provided in Article 80 of Serbian Labour Law and Article 11 of Serbian Law on Safety and Security at Work.

As per the health-related data, the acceptable legal ground for processing may be that processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care and of medicinal products or medical devices, on the basis of the law which provides for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the data subject, in particular professional secrecy. (Article 17 Paragraph 2 item 9 of the LPDP).

Various European Supervisory Authorities issued guidelines on this topic in the past days and these guidelines provide for similar interpretations of the applicable data protection regulations (please find some of the links below).

https://www.cnil.fr/fr/coronavirus-covid-19-les-rappels-de-la-cnil-sur-la-collecte-de-donnees-personnelles

https://www.ip-rs.si/novice/odgovorno-ravnanje-vseh-je-kljucno-v-casu-virusne-krize-1170/

https://naih.hu/files/NAIH_2020_2586.pdf

https://www.garanteprivacy.it/web/guest/home/docweb/-/docweb-display/docweb/9282117

By Ivan Milosevic, Partner, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic

Serbia Knowledge Partner

The oldest full service commercial law firm in Serbia, founded in 1991, JPM with three decades of experience in assisting local and international businesses presence and growth not only in Serbia but throughout the SEE region.

We have accumulated a wealth of knowledge in every industrial and corporate sector, from energy to banking, transport, manufacturing and telecommunications, while remaining true to a pioneering spirit that has always drawn us to follow the latest trends and developments in providing of our services to clients. Today we use the latest legal tech available in serving our clients and are expanding our services to clients from growing industries such as renewable energy, IT and life sciences, by offering innovative solutions and a pro-active approach to broaching new grounds.

Our expertise, experience, and commitment to professional excellence mean we are routinely involved in landmark cases and transactions, while our high standing among clients and peers sees us ranked among the leading law firms by independent guides such as Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, and IFLR1000.

We are known for working closely with clients and treating their problems as our own. Our lawyers pride themselves on being team players, fast and available, specialised in terms of practice area and industry, but versatile and creative in their thinking. We believe our advice should be tailor-made and that even the thorniest issue has a legal solution.

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