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Webinar "The impact of citizen exclusion: understanding community disquiet against pandemic surveillance technology"

Webinar "The impact of citizen exclusion: understanding community disquiet against pandemic surveillance technology".

  • Speakers: Professor Mark Findlay and Alicia Wee
  • 27.01.2021, 10 a.m.
  • Link to Zoom meeting here

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870722 (TiGRE). 

The proliferation of surveillance technology during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a myriad of responses from the public. We posit that public trust and confidence in state control policies employing these technologies is tenuous at best, and the trust-deficit has had a significant impact on the efficacy of the control measures. An examination of varied social responses under different control measures (including an escalated use of surveillance technology during the pandemic) has revealed different sources of disquiet which we have classified under six broad themes: disquiet about the data collected; disquiet concerning authority styles confirming control responses; disquiet regarding the integral architecture of control strategies employed; disquiet surrounding infringement of rights and liberties; disquiet surrounding the role of private sector; as well as uncertainties regarding a post-pandemic world and its “new normal”. Without genuinely engaging and including citizens into the conceptualisation, development, implementation and decommissioning of policies and tech, data subjects are relegated to data objects. In this presentation, we argue that principled design and citizen inclusion at crucial stages of pandemic control responses can preserve the rights and integrity of all individuals during the crisis (and beyond) without jeopardising efficacy. We reject the position that there must be a trade-off between personal data protection and health security. In our work, digital self-determination has the potential to make surveillance technologies (including the data it produces and shares) more legitimate from the data subject’s perspective, thereby aiding in more robust control policies.

Professor Mark Findlay is a Professor of Law at Singapore Management University, and Director of its Centre for AI and Data Governance, where he is a Professorial Research Fellow In addition, he has honorary Chairs at the Australian National University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of New South Wales, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, and an Honorary Fellow of the Law School, University of Edinburgh.

Alicia Wee is a Research Associate with the Singapore Management University’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Data Governance. They are currently conducting research on the implications of pandemic surveillance technology, and have recently written a joint paper with Professor Findlay on AI and Data Use: Surveillance Technology and Community Disquiet in the Age of COVID-19.