The Cambodian government’s “Stop Covid-19” QR Code system raises serious privacy and other human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should use less-rights-intrusive measures to contain and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
On February 20, 2021, Cambodia’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and Ministry of Health initiated a QR Code system that aims to assist with contact tracing of new Covid-19 cases, which have recently increased. The ministries should publicly explain how the data collected through the QR Code system is used, who has access to the data and for what purpose, the measures taken to secure the data, and the period for which the data is stored.
“Cambodia’s QR Code system is ripe for rights abuses because it lacks privacy protections for personal data,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “These concerns are heightened by the government’s stepped-up online surveillance of Cambodians since the outset of the pandemic, putting government critics and activists at greater risk.”