Privacy as Public Good – A Comparative Assessment of the Challenge for CoronApps in Latin America

Barker, Kim; Uribe-Jongbloed, Enrique and Scholz, Tobias (2020). Privacy as Public Good – A Comparative Assessment of the Challenge for CoronApps in Latin America. Journal of Law, Technology & Trust, 1(1) pp. 1–24.



Much of the reporting of the tracing apps, tracking programmes, and privacy concerns during the developmental processes and the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic have focussed on pitting digital rights and privacy against public health interests. Undoubtedly, there is best practice in establishing a tracing app to respond to Covid-19 while the work of civil society and NGOs in scrutinising the apps in various nations is vitally important and provides the core analysis of the scope of the data to be collated and retained. The holding to account of tracing systems and governments in utilising technology that is by its very nature invasive is vital in protecting digital rights. In times of crisis in particular, accountability is incredibly important to ensure that digital rights are not pushed aside in light of other concerns.

To balance digital rights and privacy, and public health, accountability and transparency are essential – the scrutiny of the track and trace systems in Germany, the UK, and Colombia is therefore undertaken in this paper, which questions from interdisciplinary perspectives the scrutiny, accountability, and privacy concerns in each nation’s app before offering some conclusions and recommendations for the improvement and development of privacy and digital rights in Latin America. The conclusions offered here highlight good practice and outline the need for a holistic consideration of tracing systems, rather than advocating for a ‘one size fits all approach’ by positioning privacy as a public good, rather than an opponent of technological tracing systems.

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