December 18, 2020

Balancing Privacy with Technology Use: Lessons from Covid-19

By Harshita Agrawal, Prakhar Misra, Ananth Padmanabhan

There has been an uptick in the use of technology in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments have had to be swift and agile with response strategies. A variety of technology applications have been helpful in this regard. Yet, data governance and privacy principles have taken a backseat. In this paper, we derive a set of eight principles that can be followed by governments to balance individual privacy while deploying technology for governance purposes in emergency situations. We look at three technologies used during COVID-19: contact tracing, AI use for drug development and disease prevention, and syndromic surveillance for our analysis. We highlight informational privacy harms that these technologies perpetrate through a framework of privacy proposed by Koops et al (2017), in order to give a set of eight principles that governments should enforce.

Tags : privacy
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