Innovation under Pressure: Implications for Data Privacy during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionBig Data & Society. July 2020. 10.1177/2053951720976680
The global Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in social and economic disruption unprecedented in the modern era. Many countries have introduced severe measures to contain the virus, including travel restrictions, public event bans, non-essential business closures, and remote work policies. While digital technologies help governments and organizations to enforce protection measures, such as contact tracing, their rushed deployment and adoption also raises profound concerns about surveillance, privacy, and data protection. This article presents two critical cases on digital surveillance technologies implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic and delineates the privacy implications thereof. We explain the contextual nature of privacy trade-offs during a pandemic and explore how regulatory and technical responses are needed to protect privacy in such circumstances. By providing a multi-disciplinary conversation on the value of privacy and data protection during a global pandemic, this article reflects on the implications digital solutions have for the future and raises the question of whether there is a way to have expedited privacy assessments that could anticipate and help mitigate adverse privacy implications these may have on society.