The topics of digital surveillance, data protection and privacy concerns in the Kazakh society has been on agenda long before the coronavirus outbreak. They have been driven and fuelled by human rights activists in response to increased cooperation with China since 2018, when the Kazakh government launched its national strategy 'Digital Kazakhstan' and Smart City projects to re-shape urban areas with the help of the ICT.
Moreover, in October 2019 after the state visit to China President Tokayev instructed his cabinet to adopt the Chinese experience of mass digitalisation in Kazakhstan. Hundreds thousands of cameras that should be installed until 2022 according to the Ministry of Interior's plan on crime prevention on one hand and introducing nationwide biometric identification and collecting fingerprints in 2021 on the other will result in the biggest digitisation of the country's personal data that should be collected, processed, and safely stored on local servers with adequate anti-intrusion and leakage response.
What restrictions on the right to the protection of personal data and privacy are currently applied in Kazakhstan? Do they comply with international standards? What personal data should always remain private, and what can be disclosed in the state of emergency? Is it permitted to use technical means to spy on citizens? What are the consequences of violations of human rights after the lifting of the state of emergency? What are the possibilities of civil control over restrictions on the right to protect personal data?