Calls from contact tracers are not recorded, Walloon agency says
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Calls from contact tracers are not recorded, Walloon agency says

Credit: Belga

Calls made by contact tracers working for the Walloon tracing agency “are not recorded,” it said on Tuesday in reaction to statements made on Monday by the “Ministry of Privacy,” a Belgian association campaigning for the protection of privacy.

On Monday, the privacy organisation “Ministry of Privacy” stated that some calls from contact tracers had been recorded without the knowledge of the people they called, based on the testimony of a whistleblower.

In Flanders, conversations were indeed recorded in one of the six large contact tracing centres, according to Joris Moonens of the Flemish Agency for Care and Health, who stressed that this is not the intention.

“The instructions to the various call centres that carry out contact tracing are very clear: conversations are not recorded, not even for quality purposes,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“In one case, a mistake was made in order to be able to give some call agents quality training,” Moonens said. “One of the supervisors recorded a number of conversations, something that is absolutely not possible and is against the agreements.”

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The Agency contacted its data protection officer and asked him to sort things out with the call centre concerned, but it was a mistake. “The recordings that happened were not saved either. By the time the report came in, they were no longer available. No conversations were saved.”

In Wallonia, the recording of calls not only does “not comply with the principles of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),” but also “the technical platform does not allow it,” the Wallon agency Aviq said.

However, the agency added that “for service improvement and coaching purposes, it is possible that the conversation can be listened to live by a manager.”

“The agents responsible for monitoring contacts carry out their missions in compliance with Article 9 of the law of 30 July 2018 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data,” Aviq said.

Only the members of these teams are authorised to have access to the data and to process them within the framework of the planned purposes, according to the association.

“They are subject to professional secrecy,” it said. “Additionally, it is clearly specified that the data may not be disclosed or used for any other purpose.”

The agency ensures that, to trace contacts, it manages the details of “people who tested positive and are domiciled on the territory of Wallonia,” the details of their contacts, and the data of the employer and workplace of people tested positive.

Epidemiological data are specifically managed by the Surveillance Unit for Infectious Diseases (SURVMI), the Aviq says.

Finally, the agency indicated that “the Walloon government Decree of 5 May 2020 stipulates that the data collected by the tracing centres linked to the Covid-19 epidemic will be deleted five days after the publication of the Decree announcing the end of the pandemic.

The Brussels Times