Tracing app dominates debate on new stimulus package
As part of the fourth stimulus package, the government also prepared a legal basis for introducing an app tracing contacts of persons infected with the new coronavirus and of persons who have been quarantined.
Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj told the Committee for Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and the Disabled that the use of the app would be voluntary, except for those who were quarantined and confirmed as positive for Covid-19.
"Installing the application will be mandatory for these persons," he said, adding that the provisions on the app had been written in the proposed legislation for preventive reasons - to protect people's health and lives.
The legal service of the National Assembly reiterated its criticism of the provisions. "The proposed concept of the mobile application is based on the false starting point that this is not personal information processing," a representative of the service said.
According to her, despite being anonymous, the app is based on the processing of personal information of the persons for whom its use is mandatory.
Vojko Starovič of the opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) noted that the Office of the Information Commissioner was also critical of the app. "The provisions related to the processing of identification and personal information are completely unacceptable."
The coalition New Slovenia (NSi) meanwhile supports the app. It would be anonymous and would not record contacts with random passers-by, said MP Tadeja Šuštar, adding that the party supported the new package as it brought good solutions for a potential second wave.
Tina Heferle of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) was critical of the proposed mobile app, as "epidemic should not be a reason for excessive encroachment upon human rights and freedoms".
Heferle added that the provisions on the app did not belong to emergency measures and that the "government is trying to discipline and control the citizens with police methods, in the name of the new coronavirus."
The LMŠ thinks that the app will have no effect whatsoever, because a majority of residents will not install it. "This is because people do not trust you any more," said MP Lidija Divjak Mirnik, adding that "you are slowly introducing a dictatorship."