This post is part of a series on contact tracing apps. You can read our introduction to the series here and get links to the other entries below. 

No, not in Russia. As described in previous blog posts, there is only one COVID-19 related app in Russia similar to those in Europe, the USA and Asia but even this app is quite limited as it is only targeted at people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. It may not be voluntarily installed and may not be viewed by employers – only the Moscow government’s employees can access it’s data. After an individual’s recovery, all data must be deleted (where smartphones were given to people who did not have their own, such smartphones must be returned).

The federal tracing system and the digital travel permits that we described earlier are also only used by the state to monitor compliance with federal and local laws and are of no use to employers.

However, employers have non-IT instruments to protect their premises and staff from individuals who might be contagious. For example, in Moscow employers that are allowed to continue operations (many companies are still under the lockdown regime) must

  1. measure the body temperatures of employees (at least once every four hours) and visitors when they enter the office and prevent individuals with high temperatures from entering;
  2. suspend from work those employees who are over 65 years of age and/or live with others affected by COVID-19 and/or in relation to which specific sanitary epidemiological measures have been implemented;
  3. ensure that employees wear masks and gloves while at work; and
  4. arrange for at least 10 percent of employees to be tested for COVID-19 every 15 calendar days starting from 1 June 2020.

Such obligations also apply to employees. For example, in Moscow employees must

  1. immediately inform their employer if they have COVID-19, symptoms of an acute respiratory viral infection diagnosed by a doctor or pneumonia, or if they live with such persons;
  2. not leave their place of residence if they have one of the above diseases or must self-isolate for another reason provided by law;
  3. use masks and gloves; and
  4. participate in medical examinations organised by the employer.

Many Russians believe these requirements to be excessive and illegal. Whether they are lawful will become evident in the coming months when the relevant case law’ has been established. So far, the Moscow city court rejected a claim by a group of individuals challenging the legality of digital travel permits and social monitoring apps in Moscow.

Other posts in this series: