Tackling COVID-19 is a crucible for privacy

Goldkind, Lauri, LaMendola, Walter and Taylor-Beswick, Amanda ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6320-5618 (2020) Tackling COVID-19 is a crucible for privacy. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 38 (2). pp. 89-90.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/15228835.2020.1757559


Laws and norms around privacy take a significant amount of time to be established, but can often unravel at lightning speed. As a part of the global response to the COVID19 crisis in the United States and Western Europe, governments are relaxing carefully crafted privacy protections such as the US's Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While the crisis is temporary, it is easy to foresee how privacy changes made in the crucible of COVID19 could have a long lasting impact on our civil liberties once we go back to shaking hands. During the current crisis, we have seen a massive uptake in the use of digital tools to engage in all manner of contacts, typically made in person. Everything from doctors’ visits, dance classes, secondary education classes as well as all the adult employment activities have rapidly moved online without considering the massive data extraction activities of these private for-profit companies. Tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, WeChat and even TikTok are experiencing unprecedented implementations across a range of sectors that have never before considered using video as a facilitator. Uncomfortable questions around location data being shared with governmental agencies are now being asked, but the tech adoption is happening before society has had a chance to grapple with its answer. In other words, a significant portion of the general public is now reliant on digital tools that have not fully considered user privacy. Because one’s personal data is an abstract concept which exists outside of most individual’s day-to-day purview, it is difficult for citizens to conceptualize the risks of relaxing individual data and privacy protections. How does one hold onto their data responsibility, under what conditions might it be useful for consumers to offer their data for use in unintended arenas? What are the digital protections one might expect in a pandemic?

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Journal of Technology in Human Services
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN: 1522-8991
Departments: Professional Services > Vice Chancellor's Office
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 21 May 2024 08:35
Last Modified: 21 May 2024 08:45
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/7691


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