Public Goods From Private Data – An Efficacy and Justification Paradox for Digital Contact Tracing

by   Andrew Buzzell, et al.

Debate about the adoption of digital contact tracing (DCT) apps to control the spread of COVID-19 has focussed on risks to individual privacy (Sharma Bashir 2020, Tang 2020). This emphasis reveals significant challenges to ethical deployment of DCT, but generates constraints which undermine justification to implement DCT. It would be a mistake to view this result solely as the successful operation of ethical foresight analysis (Floridi Strait 2020), preventing deployment of potentially harmful technology. Privacy-centric analysis treats data as private property, frames the relationship between individuals and governments as adversarial, entrenches technology platforms as gatekeepers, and supports a conception of emergency public health authority as limited by individual consent and considerable corporate influence that is in some tension with the more communitarian values that typically inform public health ethics. To overcome the barriers to ethical and effective DCT, and develop infrastructure and policy that supports the realization of potential public benefits of digital technology, a public resource conception of aggregate data should be developed.



There are no comments yet.


page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4


Digital tools against COVID-19: Framing the ethical challenges and how to address them

Data collection and processing via digital public health technologies ar...

The Ethical Implications of Digital Contact Tracing for LGBTQIA+ Communities

The onset of COVID-19 has led to the introduction of far-reaching digita...

Target Privacy Threat Modeling for COVID-19 Exposure Notification Systems

The adoption of digital contact tracing (DCT) technology during the COVI...

COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Privacy: Studying Opinion and Preferences

There is growing interest in technology-enabled contact tracing, the pro...

Preliminary Analysis of Potential Harms in the Luca Tracing System

In this document, we analyse the potential harms a large-scale deploymen...

Data management for platform-mediated public services: Challenges and best practices

Services mediated by ICT platforms have shaped the landscape of the digi...

Exploring the Drivers and Barriers to Uptake for Digital Contact Tracing

Digital contact tracing has been deployed as a public health interventio...
This week in AI

Get the week's most popular data science and artificial intelligence research sent straight to your inbox every Saturday.