Help, by all means, but let’s not sell the vulnerable

by | Mar 14, 2020 | ICT4D |

“Anyone have contacts in the airline industry, I’m looking to map flight details of all those infected with COVID-19.”

Seen on Twitter

I saw this tweet a few weeks ago. It was the beginning of a deluge of tweets from well meaning people wanting to help with COVID-19. Now we have governments announcing partnerships with big tech firms for various information gathering, analysis, and processing power.

While there is a part of this I applaud as I am a huge advocate for using technology to benefit and improve the lives of the vulnerable. I am concerned about how quickly we trade privacy of the vulnerable away. It would be great to see how Google, Facebook, Palantir and others are signing legal agreements in which they agree to deleting all the data on vulnerable people they collect during this time.

By all means let’s come together as communities and society to fight this pandemic, but let’s let’s not do it at the expense of the vulnerable.

oh and while we’re at it, once COVID-19 is under control, perhaps we can use some of the same resources to combat and control other, worse, diseases like TB, Malaria, and so on.


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