The second wave of restrictions and “coronavirus” apps


The situation with COVID-19 around the world is heating up: the number of fresh cases of the disease is growing daily.

As part of the Pandemic Big Brother project, Roskomsvoboda, together with the project partners, continues to monitor violations of rights on an interactive map.

In this digest, we will talk about the identified restrictions on citizens' rights over the past few months.

New restrictions in Russia

In Russia, despite updating the daily records for the number of cases, the authorities have not introduced strict quarantine measures and digital passes yet. Elderly people of Russia are advised to stay at home, some schools have shifted to remote studying, and police officers are returning to public transport to check compliance with the mask regime (the fine for not wearing a mask is 4,000 rubles).

At the end of August, the head of the Russian Ministry of Health announced that the authorities began developing a mobile application for tracking the health status of vaccinated Russians.

During the spring wave of coronavirus, Moscow residents experienced digital surveillance at its greatest. They still continue to appeal against illegal fines for not having a digital pass and violating self-isolation from the Social Monitoring application. However, the authorities have already prepared new restrictions for them.

The mayor's office obliged employers to at least 30% of employees to a remote mode of work and report this to the authorities on a weekly basis, providing personal data of their employees. In particular, the authorities are interested in mobile numbers of remote employees, the numbers of their Troika and Strelka travel cards, their car license plates numbers and other information about social cards and temporary discount tickets.

At the same time, the authorities consider returning to stiffer restrictions and access control.

New restrictions in other countries

New restrictions are also being applied around the world against the backdrop of the second wave of coronavirus: European countries have reduced the opening hours of bars and restaurants, canceled public events.

Israeli authorities announced a quarantine in the second half of September, which will last until October 11. People are forbidden to leave the house beyond 500 meters, with the exception of going to work, buying basic necessities or visiting a doctor.

In the UK, people who test positive for COVID-19 and those who have been in contact with them are required to comply with mandatory quarantine. The fine for violation of quarantine measures is 10 thousand pounds.

The Greek authorities are even stricter towards violators of the mandatory quarantine for sick people. If the violation of quarantine measures led to the transmission of the disease, the quarantine violator risks spending 5 to 10 years in prison, if this led to the death of a person, they intend to imprison for a period of 10 to 15 years.

The pandemic of the apps

The NHS COVID-19 app was launched in the UK at the end of September. This application allows you to track contacts with an infected person using Bluetooth technology; notifies of disease risks based on ZIP codes; ensures the registration of QR codes in public places and allows you to check your symptoms for compliance with COVID-19 symptoms.

Companies across the country have been required to place official posters with the NHS QR code so that people register this code on the app on their smartphone when they visit public places.

Spain has banned "secondary" travel to Madrid and its suburbs, and also reduced the opening hours of public places.

In September, the country's authorities launched the Radar Covid app which tracks contacts with infected people based on technology developed by Google and Apple. The application captures the contact if two smartphones with a preinstalled application were nearby for 15 minutes.

A similar app called STAYAWAY COVID was launched in Portugal in July. Despite the voluntary nature of its use, over 660 thousand people downloaded the application in two months.

On August 31st, the contact tracing app was launched in Finland. Its installation was also voluntary, but in just 4 days more than 5.5 million residents of the country started using it.

Belgium started testing its own Coronalert app about a month ago. Today it is already operating throughout the country. It anonymously notifies users if they have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

A similar application was supposed to launch in the Netherlands on September 1, but its release was postponed to October. Application development and negotiations on its implementation had lasted for almost six months. According to preliminary data, the CoronaMelder application will be available for residents of the country from October 10.

Besides European countries, covid applications have also been launched in Canada, South Africa, Oman, Pakistan, Myanmar and Togo over the past few months.

The application developed in Pakistan is designed to keep track of travelers entering the country. The app monitors self-isolation compliance based on location data and records the person's symptoms. The application in Togo works in a similar way. Travelers are asked to install it on arrival and use it throughout their trip.


The authorities of many countries admit that people's fear of the pandemic and, conversely, the refusal to believe in its existence, give rise to an extensive amount of misinformation on the Internet and on social networks in particular,

Over the past few months, there have been cases of arrests for covid dissidence and the spread of misinformation about coronavirus. In Germany, over 300 protesters against coronavirus restrictions were arrested.

Spanish police in August arrested a man who incited hatred on social networks and spread false information about the pandemic.

Police in Australia arrested a pregnant woman who was in mandatory quarantine for a video on social networks calling for protests against isolation and preventing coronavirus measures.

In Morocco, a court sentenced a woman to one month in prison because of a video on social networks, where she called for a boycott of measures to combat coronavirus and claimed that there was no pandemic. Another resident of the country is now in custody for disseminating false information.

Kazakhstan punishes for fakes in social networks more severely. There, a court sentenced a man to three years in prison for expressing his opinion on how the country's government is coping with the pandemic.

Authorities in Russia also continue to initiate administrative cases for disseminating "false" information on social networks. At the same time, not only Internet users, but also the media fall under the fine. A court in Moscow fined Radio Liberty for 300 thousand rubles under an article on fake news because of material about coronavirus.

We remind you that you can contact our legal service if you have faced persecution for freedom of speech, fines for unconstitutional restrictions on movement or other violations of your digital rights.

You can also help our project by sending us news or other information about civil rights restrictions during a pandemic through a feedback form.