Invasive COVID-19 tracing apps pose a threat to civic freedoms
Amnesty International: Norway, Bahrain & Kuwait #Covid-19 apps threaten privacy #AmnestyInternational #coronavirus @amnesty https://t.co/KL4ajJ5Zf3— SC Media (@SCMagazine) June 19, 2020
An investigation by Amnesty International, published in June 2020, revealed that Kuwait is one of several countries that have rolled out invasive COVID–19 contact tracing apps which pose a severe threat to the privacy and security of human rights defenders and their ability to freely exercise their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly online and offline.
According to an assessment by Amnesty International, Kuwait’s ‘Shlonik’ app ranks among the most alarming mass surveillance tools due to its functionality which allows for real-time GPS tracking of users.
Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are already under extensive threat in Kuwait, where the judicial harassment and targeting of human rights defenders and online activists is enabled by laws and policies which restrict their activities offline and online, including the Cybercrime Law of 2015 and the Press and Publications Law of 2006.
Ahead of the Universal Periodic Preview of Kuwait at the United Nations on 29th January 2020, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, the International Service for Human Rights, CIVICUS and the MENA Rights Group made a submission which highlighted the extent to which Kuwaiti human rights defenders, bloggers and writers face arbitrary detention, judicial harassment, prison sentences (including following trials in absentia), travel bans, defamation campaigns, torture and other forms of inhumane and degrading treatment, as well as being stripped of citizenship.
The outcomeof the review was published on 20th March 2020 and includes recommendations that Kuwait amend restrictive laws and policies regulating the rights to association, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, both online and offline.
Civic Space Developments