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  1. Should Digital Contact Tracing Technologies be used to Control COVID-19? Perspectives from an Australian Public Deliberation.Chris Degeling, Julie Hall, Jane Johnson, Roba Abbas, Shopna Bag & Gwendolyn L. Gilbert - 2022 - Health Care Analysis 30 (2):97-114.
    Mobile phone-based applications can promote faster targeted actions to control COVID-19. However, digital contact tracing systems raise concerns about data security, system effectiveness, and their potential to normalise privacy-invasive surveillance technologies. In the absence of mandates, public uptake depends on the acceptability and perceived legitimacy of using technologies that log interactions between individuals to build public health capacity. We report on six online deliberative workshops convened in New South Wales to consider the appropriateness of using the COVIDSafe app to enhance (...)
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  • Ethics of Digital Contact Tracing Wearables.G. Owen Schaefer & Angela Ballantyne - 2022 - Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (9):611-615.
    The success of digital COVID-19 contact tracing requires a strategy that successfully addresses the digital divide—inequitable access to technology such as smartphones. Lack of access both undermines the degree of social benefit achieved by the use of tracing apps, and exacerbates existing social and health inequities because those who lack access are likely to already be disadvantaged. Recently, Singapore has introduced portable tracing wearables to address the equity gap and promote public health. We argue that governments have an ethical obligation (...)
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  • Digital Contact Tracing and Exposure Notification: Ethical Guidance for Trustworthy Pandemic Management.Robert Ranisch, Niels Nijsingh, Angela Ballantyne, Anne van Bergen, Alena Buyx, Orsolya Friedrich, Tereza Hendl, Georg Marckmann, Christian Munthe & Verina Wild - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):285-294.
    There is growing interest in contact tracing apps for pandemic management. It is crucial to consider ethical requirements before, while, and after implementing such apps. In this paper, we illustrate the complexity and multiplicity of the ethical considerations by presenting an ethical framework for a responsible design and implementation of CT apps. Using this framework as a starting point, we briefly highlight the interconnection of social and political contexts, available measures of pandemic management, and a multi-layer assessment of CT apps. (...)
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  • Tracing App Technology: An Ethical Review in the COVID-19 Era and Directions for Post-COVID-19. [REVIEW]Ehsan Hajiramezanali, Shahriar Esmaeili, Kambiz Rasoulkhani, Ali Akbari, Ali Mostafavi, Amir Esmalian & Saleh Afroogh - 2022 - Ethics and Information Technology 24 (3).
    We conducted a systematic literature review on the ethical considerations of the use of contact tracing app technology, which was extensively implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid and extensive use of this technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, while benefiting the public well-being by providing information about people’s mobility and movements to control the spread of the virus, raised several ethical concerns for the post-COVID-19 era. To investigate these concerns for the post-pandemic situation and provide direction for future events, we (...)
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  • Digital Phenotyping and the (Data) Shadow of Alzheimer's Disease.Natassia Brenman, Alessia Costa & Richard Milne - 2022 - Big Data and Society 9 (1).
    In this paper, we examine the practice and promises of digital phenotyping. We build on work on the ‘data self’ to focus on a medical domain in which the value and nature of knowledge and relations with data have been played out with particular persistence, that of Alzheimer's disease research. Drawing on research with researchers and developers, we consider the intersection of hopes and concerns related to both digital tools and Alzheimer's disease using the metaphor of the ‘data shadow’. We (...)
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  • Framing Ethical Issues Associated with the UK COVID-19 Contact Tracing App: Exceptionalising and Narrowing the Public Ethics Debate.F. Lucivero & G. Samuel - 2022 - Ethics and Information Technology 24 (1).
    This paper explores ethical debates associated with the UK COVID-19 contact tracing app that occurred in the public news media and broader public policy, and in doing so, takes ethics debate as an object for sociological study. The research question was: how did UK national newspaper news articles and grey literature frame the ethical issues about the app, and how did stakeholders associated with the development and/or governance of the app reflect on this? We examined the predominance of different ethical (...)
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  • Ecologies of public trust: The nhs covid-19 contact tracing app.Gabrielle Samuel, Frederica Lucivero, Stephanie Johnson & Heilien Diedericks - 2021 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 18 (4):595-608.
    In April 2020, close to the start of the first U.K. COVID-19 lockdown, the U.K. government announced the development of a COVID-19 contact tracing app, which was later trialled on the U.K. island, the Isle of Wight, in May/June 2020. United Kingdom surveys found general support for the development of such an app, which seemed strongly influenced by public trust. Institutions developing the app were called upon to fulfil the commitment to public trust by acting with trustworthiness. Such calls presuppose (...)
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  • COVID-19 and Contact Tracing Apps: Ethical Challenges for a Social Experiment on a Global Scale.Federica Lucivero, Nina Hallowell, Stephanie Johnson, Barbara Prainsack, Gabrielle Samuel & Tamar Sharon - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (4):835-839.
    Mobile applications are increasingly regarded as important tools for an integrated strategy of infection containment in post-lockdown societies around the globe. This paper discusses a number of questions that should be addressed when assessing the ethical challenges of mobile applications for digital contact-tracing of COVID-19: Which safeguards should be designed in the technology? Who should access data? What is a legitimate role for “Big Tech” companies in the development and implementation of these systems? How should cultural and behavioural issues be (...)
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  • Innovation Under Pressure: Implications for Data Privacy During the Covid-19 Pandemic.Gil Scheitlin, Rehana Harasgama, Eduard Fosch Villaronga, Aurelia Tamò-Larrieux, Christoph Lutz & Gemma Newlands - 2020 - Big Data and Society 7 (2).
    The global Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in social and economic disruption unprecedented in the modern era. Many countries have introduced severe measures to contain the virus, including travel restrictions, public event bans, non-essential business closures and remote work policies. While digital technologies help governments and organizations to enforce protection measures, such as contact tracing, their rushed deployment and adoption also raises profound concerns about surveillance, privacy and data protection. This article presents two critical cases on digital surveillance technologies implemented during (...)
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  • Applying a Precautionary Approach to Mobile Contact Tracing for COVID-19: The Value of Reversibility.Niels Nijsingh, Anne van Bergen & Verina Wild - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (4):823-827.
    The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges to public health decision-making. Specifically, the lack of evidence and the urgency with which a response is called for, raise the ethical challenge of assessing how much evidence is required for the justification of interventions in response to the various threats we face. Here we discuss the intervention of introducing technology that aims to trace and alert contacts of infected persons—contact tracing technology. Determining whether such an intervention is proportional is complicated by complex trade-offs (...)
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  • Ethics of Digital Contact Tracing and COVID-19: Who is (Not) Free to Go?Michael Klenk & Hein Duijf - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (S1):69-77.
    Digital tracing technologies are heralded as an effective way of containing SARS-CoV-2 faster than it is spreading, thereby allowing the possibility of easing draconic measures of population-wide quarantine. But existing technological proposals risk addressing the wrong problem. The proper objective is not solely to maximise the ratio of people freed from quarantine but to also ensure that the composition of the freed group is fair. We identify several factors that pose a risk for fair group composition along with an analysis (...)
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  • The Ethics of COVID-19 Tracking Apps – Challenges and Voluntariness.Renate Klar & Dirk Lanzerath - 2020 - Research Ethics 16 (3-4):1-9.
    As COVID-19 continues to spread, a variety of COVID-19 tracking apps have been introduced to help contain the pandemic. Deployment of this technology poses serious challenges of effectiveness, technological problems and risks to privacy and equity. The ethical use of CTAs depends heavily on the protection of voluntariness. Voluntary use of CTAs implies not only the absence of a legal obligation to employ the app but also the absence of more subtle forms of coercion such as enforced exclusion from certain (...)
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  • Blind-Sided by Privacy? Digital Contact Tracing, the Apple/Google API and Big Tech’s Newfound Role as Global Health Policy Makers.Tamar Sharon - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (S1):45-57.
    Since the outbreak of COVID-19, governments have turned their attention to digital contact tracing. In many countries, public debate has focused on the risks this technology poses to privacy, with advocates and experts sounding alarm bells about surveillance and mission creep reminiscent of the post 9/11 era. Yet, when Apple and Google launched their contact tracing API in April 2020, some of the world’s leading privacy experts applauded this initiative for its privacy-preserving technical specifications. In an interesting twist, the tech (...)
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  • Effective Contact Tracing for COVID-19 Using Mobile Phones: An Ethical Analysis of the Mandatory Use of the Aarogya Setu Application in India.Saurav Basu - 2021 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (2):262-271.
    Several digital contact tracing smartphone applications have been developed worldwide in the effort to combat COVID-19 that warn users of potential exposure to infectious patients and generate big data that helps in early identification of hotspots, complementing the manual tracing operations. In most democracies, concerns over a breach in data privacy have resulted in severe opposition toward their mandatory adoption. This paper examines India as a noticeable exception, where the compulsory installation of such a government-backed application, the “Aarogya Setu” has (...)
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  • Pandemic Surveillance and Racialized Subpopulations: Mitigating Vulnerabilities in COVID-19 Apps.Tereza Hendl, Ryoa Chung & Verina Wild - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (4):829-834.
    Debates about effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have emphasized the paramount importance of digital tracing technology in suppressing the disease. So far, discussions about the ethics of this technology have focused on privacy concerns, efficacy, and uptake. However, important issues regarding power imbalances and vulnerability also warrant attention. As demonstrated in other forms of digital surveillance, vulnerable subpopulations pay a higher price for surveillance measures. There is reason to worry that some types of COVID-19 technology might lead to the (...)
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  • COVID-19 Current Controversies.Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (7):419-420.
    This July 2020 issue of JME introduces a new section, “COVID-19 Current Controversies,” which will be a recurring section in each issue for the foreseeable future. This issue reflects on some of the most pressing ethical issues that have arisen roughly 6 months into the pandemic. Kathleen Liddell and colleagues examine important legal considerations at play in ventilator allocation decisions raised by the pandemic.1 They point out that ethics-based triage protocols that argue from the principle of “saving the most lives” (...)
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  • Pandemic Medical Ethics.Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, Kenneth Boyd, Brian D. Earp, Lucy Frith, Rosalind J. McDougall, John McMillan & Jesse Wall - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (6):353-354.
    The COVID-19 pandemic will generate vexing ethical issues for the foreseeable future and many journals will be open to content that is relevant to our collective effort to meet this challenge. While the pandemic is clearly the critical issue of the moment, it’s important that other issues in medical ethics continue to be addressed as well. As can be seen in this issue, the Journal of Medical Ethics will uphold its commitment to publishing high quality papers on the full array (...)
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  • Passport to Freedom? Immunity Passports for COVID-19.Rebecca C. H. Brown, Julian Savulescu, Bridget Williams & Dominic Wilkinson - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (10):652-659.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has led a number of countries to introduce restrictive ‘lockdown’ policies on their citizens in order to control infection spread. Immunity passports have been proposed as a way of easing the harms of such policies, and could be used in conjunction with other strategies for infection control. These passports would permit those who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies to return to some of their normal behaviours, such as travelling more freely and returning to work. The introduction of (...)
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