In the wake of the onslaught on the right to privacy in the world-wide fight against Coronavirus, the South African government has appointed former Constitutional Court judge, Justice Catherine (Kate) O'Regan, as the COVID-19 Designate Judge to safeguard individuals' privacy and personal information in these critical times.
As constitutional scholar and lawyer Gautam Bhatia wrote in his blog, "There have been reports, however, of quarantine-jumping in many places, and state governments have taken to innovative methods to enforce the quarantine. One method involves an ink-stamp on the quarantined individual's body, which can be erased after the expiration of the fourteen-day period. The Karnataka government, however, has gone further: it has made publicly available the house numbers, PIN Codes, and immediate travel history of those who have been quarantined (whether they have tested positive or not).
While the ink-stamp – as long as it is non-stigmatic and temporary – might just about meet the test of proportionality in this case, it seems obvious to me that the publication of personal and private details does not; what this amounts to, in essence, is the government shifting its burden of enforcement (of the quarantine) to the individual, whether or not she is at fault. In other words, the government cannot cite its inability to enforce the quarantine as a justification for infringing privacy rights; this, in my view, violates the proportionality standard (in particular, the necessity prong), as there clearly exist other, less restrictive ways of enforcing the quarantine"
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