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COVID-19 Contact Tracing: From Local to Global and Back Again

COVID-19 Contact Tracing: From Local to Global and Back Again
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Author(s): Teresa Scassa (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Copyright: 2021
Volume: 10
Issue: 2
Pages: 14
Source title: International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Carlos Nunes Silva (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/IJEPR.20210401.oa4

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Abstract

This article surveys the rise of contact tracing technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the privacy, ethical, and human rights issues they raise. It examines the relationship of these technologies to local public health initiatives, and how the privacy debate over these apps made the technology in some cases less responsive to public health agency needs. The article suggests that as countries enter the return to normal phase, the more important and more invasive contact tracing and disease surveillance technologies will be deployed at the local level in the context of employment, transit, retail services, and other activities. The smart city may be co-opted for COVID-19 surveillance, and individuals will experience tracking and monitoring as they go to work, shop, dine, and commute. The author questions whether the attention given to national contact tracing apps has overshadowed more local contexts where privacy, ethical, and human rights issues remain deeply important but relatively unexamined. This raises issues for city local governance and urban e-planning.

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