Privacy & Surveillance during a pandemic

During class, someone asked about privacy & surveillance concerns around covid-19 tracking approaches. I want to share a few links, as well as questions and issues to be thinking about. My thoughts on this are still incomplete, as I have more reading to do.


A joint statement signed by over 100 human rights & civil society groups on what safeguards are needed on any pandemic surveillance approaches:
Digital surveillance to fight COVID-19 can only be justified if it respects human rights (article) and (PDF of statement)

On twitter, hypervisible is keeping a monster thread of articles related to the intersection of covid-19, surveillance, & tech ethics.

Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing: bluetooth COVID proximity tracing system that works at scale, where the server learns nothing about individuals

‘This could get Orwellian really fast’: COVID-19 could end privacy as we know it

Issues to consider

Previous Reading List

If you are interested, here was the assigned & optional reading from when I taught privacy & surveillance 2 months ago, although I will be updating the list with more coronavirus-specific content.

Required Reading

Jennifer Valentino-DeVries et al (NYT), Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret
Phillip Rogaway, The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work
Alvaro Bedoya, Privacy and Civil Rights in the Age of Facebook, ICE, and the NSA
Maciej Ceglowski, The New Wilderness

Optional Reading

Lindsey Barrett, Our collective privacy problem is not your fault
Ciara Byrne, Trading privacy for survival is another tax on the poor
Zeynep Tufekci, The Latest Data Privacy Debacle
Tim Wu, How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy
Chris Gilliard, Caught in the Spotlight
Forget about “privacy”: Julia Angwin and Trevor Paglen on our data crisis