COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak: Surveillance, censorship & privacy

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

In response to the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, governments worldwide are adopting a host of measures to track and monitor infections and counter disinformation. To contain the outbreak, some countries are deploying sweeping surveillance networks, personal mobile phone tracking, and Artificial Intelligence and facial recognition technologies. At the same time, governments are taking steps to tackle the rapid spread of false and misleading information which has accompanied the outbreak on social media – labelled by the World Health Organization as a  massive ‘infodemic’ – which threatens to undermine efforts to counter the outbreak. Social media companies have also taken steps to tackle false claims and direct users to accurate information.

However, there are fears that authorities may be using the threat of infection and disinformation as a pretext to disproportionately increase surveillance capacities, crack down on fundamental freedoms and justify heavy censorship that muzzles independent sources of information, in addition to legitimately harmful content.

Get RSS feed of these results

Related stories and components

Article
31 March 2020

Europe: Apps developed to fight COVID-19 raise privacy concerns

Author: Reuters (UK)

In Europe, Tech Battle Against Virus Clashes with Privacy Culture, 26 March 2020...

Read more

Article
31 March 2020

Front Line Defenders' guide on physical, emotional & digital protection for defenders during COVID-19

Author: Front Line Defenders

"Physical, emotional and digital protection while using home as office in times of COVID-19", 27 Mar 2020...

Read more

Article
30 March 2020

As pandemic restricts travel and work, internet restrictions block Gulf migrant workers from contacting families

Author: Burhan Wazir, Coda Story

"Foreign workers in the Gulf can't call home during coronavirus crisis," 27 Mar 2020...

Read more

Article
29 March 2020
+ Español - Hide

Author: Actualidad RT 

“Varias empresas usan los datos de ubicación para mapear el distanciamiento social durante el covid-19: ¿viola esto los derechos de privacidad?”...

Read more

Article
27 March 2020
+ Español - Hide

Author: APC y Derechos Digitales

“Ecuador: Las tecnologías de vigilancia en contexto de pandemia no deben poner en riesgo los derechos humanos” – marzo de 2020...

Read more

Article
25 March 2020
+ Español - Hide

Author: Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio

“CIRCULAR EXTERNA: Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio: Suministro de información al Departamento Nacional de Planeación (DNP) y demás entidades estatales que las requieran para atender, prevenir, tratar o controlar la propagación del COVID-19 y...

Read more

Article
25 March 2020

During COVID-19 response, emergency laws should not be imposed to silence human rights defenders & must be lifted as soon as virus threat diminishes

Author: CIVICUS

"CIVICUS: States should put human rights at the centre of all responses to COVID-19", 24 Mar 2020...

Read more

Article
24 March 2020

Cambodia: HRW reports that authorities arrest 17 people related to spreading fake news on the Covid-19 & urges authorities to guarantee freedom of expression for Cambodians

Author: Human Rights Watch

"Cambodia: COVID-19 Clampdown on Free Speech", 24 March 2020...

Read more

Article
23 March 2020

Govt. use of surveillance tools to trace movements of coronavirus patients raises privacy concerns

Author: Natasha Singer & Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times

"As Coronavirus surveillance escalates, personal privacy plummets," 23 March 2020...

Read more

Article
10 March 2020

China: Hanwang Technology says it has developed country's first facial recognition technology to identify mask wearers

Author: Reuters

“Even mask-wearers can be ID'd, China facial recognition firm says”, 9 March 2020...

Read more