The COVID-19 pandemic was the first global public health crisis of ‘the algorithmic age’. New data-driven technologies, such as digital vaccine certificates and contact tracing apps, were rapidly developed and deployed in response.
These technologies offered promising public health benefits during a time of emergency, however they also provoked public concerns around privacy, surveillance and equity.
While the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern, learnings from the deployment of digital vaccine passports and contact tracing apps remain highly relevant for governments, policymakers and public health authorities.
Associate Director (Emerging technology & industry practice)
Head, BRIDGE Centre for Digital Health, Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Public Health Foundation of India
Journalist, editor and writer
Director, BSc Data Science and Society, University of Groningen
Board Member, Health Data Acumen
Our report – Lessons from the App Store: Insights and learnings from COVID-19 technologies – synthesises the available evidence from a cross-section of 34 countries to explore their effectiveness, public legitimacy, impact on inequalities and governance. Evidence was gathered from a wide range of sources across different disciplines, including academic and grey literature, policy papers, workshops with experts and media news.
The report should guide governments, policymakers and international organisations when deploying data-driven technologies in response to public health emergencies, and support those advocating for fundamental rights and protections, public health and societal benefit.
We brought together four experts to discuss how the insights and lessons identified in the report can support the ethical, effective and equitable use of digital technologies in future pandemics and in public health and social provision.
You can watch a recording of the event below.
Findings from citizens’ juries on the good governance of data in pandemics.
Lessons learned from the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Requirements that governments and developers will need to deliver in order for any vaccine passport system to deliver societal benefit
Findings from a rapid expert deliberation to consider the risks and benefits of the potential roll-out of digital vaccine passports