We all have a role to play in the privacy landscape, and academics and civil society can sometimes say what others can’t and help push corporations and governments to do better.
With that in mind, this week, the Citizen Lab issued a lengthy research report entitled “Pandemic Privacy: A preliminary analysis of collection technologies, data collection laws, and legislative reform during COVID-19.”
It’s presented as “… [a]preliminary comparative analysis of how different information technologies were mobilized in response to COVID-19 to collect data, the extent to which Canadian health or privacy or emergencies laws impeded the response to COVID-19, and ultimately, the potential consequences of reforming data protection or privacy laws to enable more expansive data collection, use, or disclosure of personal information in future health emergencies.”
I’ve only had the time to read the executive summary, but I plan to read the whole thing soon. Have you read it? If so, what do you think about some of their conclusions?
It makes me think just how much technology was, and is, being used in new ways because of the pandemic. From COVID-tracing apps to new medical devices to vaccine passports to QR codes to read restaurant menus. (You can check out my colleague Dustin Moores’ CBC interview on this last issue below.)
We’ve seen such rapid adoption of new technologies in the last little while, and, at least from my perspective, it’s encouraging to see that questions are arising from the public and media about whether there’s a privacy issue that is being mitigated. I’m also happy to see that many solutions have rolled out after considering and addressing the privacy implications — with the help of savvy privacy pros, of course.
It hasn’t been perfect by any means, and some of the articles in this week’s clips speak to that point, but I would argue that at least privacy is being talked about seriously throughout.
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