Disclosure of identity of individuals in self-isolation in Montenegro sparks privacy concerns

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Coordination Body for the Suppression of Infectious Disease, an entity founded by the government of Montenegro, has introduced new measures, one of them being to digitally publish the identity of persons who were ordered into obligatory 14-day self-isolation. After this public body started publishing names, surnames as well as addresses of persons in self-isolation, experts and civil society organisations argue this measure is unconstitutional and infringe on individuals’ right to privacy. So far, more than 1800 identities have been disclosed. Human Rights Action (HRA), a civil society group based in Podgorica, stated in a press release that “HRA is worried about the stigmatization of people and children, whose identities and addresses had been revealed in such a way by the Government, which may ultimately lead to violence. HRA especially warns that it may be expected that people, who feel the symptoms of the virus, will not seek medical help promptly or at all, fearing that their identity may also be disclosed in the same way.”