Statement in response to the use of mobile phone tracking data to help during the coronavirus crisis

The ICO’s Deputy Commissioner Steve Wood said:

“Generalised location data trend analysis is helping to tackle the coronavirus crisis. Where this data is properly anonymised and aggregated, it does not fall under data protection law because no individual is identified.
“In these circumstances, privacy laws are not breached as long as the appropriate safeguards are in place.

“The ICO has provided advice about how data protection law can continue to apply flexibly to protect lives and data. The safety and security of the public remains our primary concern. We will continue to work alongside Government to provide advice about the application of data protection law during these unprecedented times.”


So, in this scenario, mobile location tracking data which is definately NOT anonymised is at some point anonymised by removing certain user specific data. The fact that this data is readily available I think speaks volumes as to the data protection concerns that most people now have.