Strategies
June 19, 2020

Coronavirus, Data Privacy & the New Online Social Contract

1 min. read

When Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote The Social Contract in 1762, he argued that only humans possess sovereign power, and that they alone may choose which freedoms they surrender in exchange for the benefits and stability of government. Now, for the first time in more than a century, we are debating amending or rebalancing aspects of the social contract in order to deal with a deadly pandemic.

One of the key challenges associated with containing the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is contact tracing: identifying other individuals and groups with whom a COVID-19-positive individual may have been in contact. Under normal circumstances, the mere idea of using any form of mobile phone data to track users en masse for a purpose they never consented to would be anathema to the spirit of regulations like GDPR and CCPA. But, of course, these are not normal circumstances.

COVID-19 contact tracing is different in that complete anonymization is not possible when identifying COVID-19-positive individuals. To protect others, health systems already track COVID-19 cases and do everything in their power to perform contact tracing. The question is: How can technology help in a way that doesn't fundamentally violate our expectations around privacy?

Read the full article published May 12, 2020 here: https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/coronavirus-data-privacy-and-the-new-online-social-contract/a/d-id/1337769 by Dark Reading.

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