Permissible Limits of Interference with the Right to Privacy in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a number of social problems and in the context of incomplete medical reform and the economic crisis, the situation in Ukraine is not the best. That is why, within the framework of this study, attention has been paid to the analysis of the concept of ‘private life’ and its relationship with the concepts of ‘personal life’ and ‘family life’, as well as it has been clarified the permissible limits of interference in private life based on analysis of ECtHR practice and the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights outlines that there is a rather extended interpretation and the absence of a comprehensive definition of the term ‘private life’. According to the ECtHR, the boundaries of private life are not limited exclusively to the ‘internal sphere’ and it is impossible to exclude the outside world completely; private life can intersect even with professional activities. The Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms covers the following areas of private life: both physical and psychological integrity of a person, his legal and social identification, gender identity, as well as sexual orientation, photographs, relationships with other people, decision-making bodies, etc. When examining the permissible limits of interference in the sphere of private life, we took into account the positions of scholars, national legislation, ECtHR practice, the results of sociological research, as well as statistics on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and mortality in Ukraine, the neighbouring European countries,the UK , USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, South Korea, Sweden and Belarus as well. In the course of the research it is substantiated that the terms ‘personal life’ and ‘private life’ are synonyms and also cover family life. The ECHR may consider violating the right to privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in the future. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat it poses to human health can be considered a legitimate purpose of invasion of privacy. If restrictive measures are taken on the basis of the law and their further legal application, such interventions may be recognized as legal. At the same time, whether such interventions are necessary in a democratic society, as well as whether the principle of proportionality is observed, should be analyzed when considering individual cases.
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