COVID-19 opens the way for the use of police drones in Greece

As part of EDRi's series on 'COVIDTech', Greek digital rights organisation Homo Digitalis examines how the pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity for Greek police to make use of new rules allowing the deployment of drones for law enforcement purposes.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to conventional and unconventional technologies deployed by public authorities across the EU to combat its spread. Some of these technologies have raised serious concerns as regards privacy and data protection of individuals. The use of drones for surveillance purposes is one of such technologies.

In October 2019, Greek law-makers reformed, via the Presidential Decree 98/2019, the applicable rules on police drones. The new legislation allows for the Hellenic Police to broadly use drones in policing and border management activities. We must bear in mind that before the adoption of these new provisions, the Hellenic Police could not deploy drones for such activities. Instead, police drones were allowed to be used in activities such as the prevention of forest fires or in search & rescue activities in the event of a natural disaster or in the aftermath of an accident.

A few months after the adoption of these new rules, in spring 2020, the Hellenic Police already managed to use them to their full extent, in order to ensure compliance with the lockdown measures against COVID-19."

Full article: COVID-19 opens the way for the use of police drones in Greece (EDRi, link)

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