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Project COVID-19 technologies

The role of good governance and the rule of law in building public trust in data-driven responses to public health emergencies

A citizen jury deliberation on the trustworthiness of data-driven technologies used in a public health emergency

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Shot of a group of people wearing masks in the city with circles around them indicating Covid-19 tracing and transmission

In their COVID-19 responses, states have relied on data-driven approaches to justify far-reaching measures. These include closing entire business sectors and categories of travel, curtailing personal liberties and requiring compliance with new technologies for contact tracing and social distancing.

To be effective, such measures must be internationally co-ordinated, nationally adopted and adhered to by a high proportion of the public. Trust in the measures, in their scientific foundations, and the institutions enforcing them underpins both national adoption and public adherence.

With funding from the AHRC, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law is leading a project to examine two critical enablers of that trust: good governance and the rule of law.

The project aims to provide practical guidance on how international and national institutions can build public trust in the processes by which they design and implement data-driven responses to public health emergencies.

For the project, Ada is running two citizens’ juries on proportionate and trustworthy data use during pandemics and public health emergencies, which are taking place in July 2021 The juries will examine a range of data-driven technologies deployed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including digital contact tracing, the potential introduction of vaccine passports to mediate people’s ability to access freedom of movement, and the use of the Shielded Patients List to identify those most vulnerable.


Image credit: PeopleImages

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