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Data Privacy: Data surveillance matter during the pandemic

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Saroop K P

By Saroop KP
Today, almost twenty-four countries across the world have stepped forward with digital surveillance measures by using a number of technological advanced tools such as facial recognition capabilities, personal data and sophisticated tracking applications. The concerns regarding data privacy during Covid-19 age draws worries about the inability to revert the loss of potential data in the post pandemic efforts.

Data has been widely used as a major tool in the fight against Covid-19. As mentioned above, over the years nations have leveraged the power to increase surveillance over themovements of the people and their health condition. It has been effectively used across through mobile applications for health monitoring.

In addition to that, private firms are harvesting health related data through applications, thereby helping in the progress of research developments against the illness.

As Petra Wilson, European program director at the Personal Connected Health Alliance says, fast moving developments in health data collection and storage can be considered as the efforts that lead to a digital health community that could explore the benefits of data sharing.

It is critical to be noted that a transparency over the efficient handling of personal data by organizations need to be exercised. This helps individuals will know who has their data, where and for what purpose. The present gathering of data of people by public and private agencies need to take inventory of the data that is held from data subjects during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes both structured and unstructured data which can be subjected to audit that complies with the principles of storage limitation, accuracy and integration, and confidentiality.

Furthermore, individual’s consent has to be retrieved for every personal data held and where unsure whether it will be gathered again or not. An undeclared consent is currently exercised by private and public agencies to access and use individual’s data to fight the pandemic. As a post Covid-19 strategy, explicit consent might be gathered from people to keep a watch over the data. Meanwhile, it is to be duly noted that individuals should be given data exercise their data rights over the collected information.

It becomes every countries responsibility to ensure that the measures taken by the governments today in health crisis should not transform as a human rights crisis tomorrow. This can be achieved by provisioning laws to protect peoples’ data that helps in tracing and monitoring efforts. Such laws could encompass strict rules in assuring the misuse of civilians’ data for commercial purposes.

As aforementioned, transparency on who carries the data and how much control does the user has over the shared data need to be made clear by the private parties involved. Such steps would help in affirming the rights of the users and eliminating data privacy violations and mistreat in the coming days.

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