Covid Safe Ticket expansion could be contested in Court

Covid Safe Ticket expansion could be contested in Court
Credit: Belga

A privacy organisation is due to contest in court the extension of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) to bars, restaurants and gyms, arguing that it is a disproportionate measure using an unethical tool.

The case against the expansion of the CST across the whole of Belgium was launched by the independent privacy watchdog Ministry of Privacy and will be brought before the Constitutional Court.

"The CST is a dangerous tool. It has been carelessly developed, there are important ethical questions, and the Data Protection Authority (GBA) gave negative advice to this government, which was completely ignored," the organisation said on Twitter.

It stressed on its website that "pub owners or gym owners are not policemen."

As of 1 November, presenting the CST has been mandatory to gain access to bars, restaurants and gyms, as well as to attend large-scale public events, across the country. The CST proves that an individual has been fully vaccinated, recently tested negative or recovered from the virus in the past six months. The Ministry of Privacy argued that the GBA previously published advice regarding the CST, warning the government that it is a "non-proportional measure of which the necessity was insufficiently proven." Despite this advice, the government expanded the use of the CST at the start of this month. The organisation added that other "more privacy-friendly measures" measures to stop the spread of coronavirus – including face masks, social distancing and improved ventilation – should be implemented instead. "As a privacy watchdog, we have little choice but to take action against this," lawyer Matthias Dobbelaere-Welvaert, founder of the Ministry of Privacy, told Belga News Agency.

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He added that giving employers the option to check their employees' CSTs, for which Federal Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has shown his support, is "a life-threatening exercise for our future," an opinion which has been mirrored by various politicians, who highlighted the legal challenges regarding this measure in the workplace. "It seems that the government does not properly understand the long-term consequences," Dobbelaere-Welvaert said. The organisation has launched a website for people to donate money to help the judicial team. So far, €2,140 has been collected.

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