Impact of Surveillance Technologies on Democracies

Impact of Surveillance Technologies on Democracies

As it becomes more evident that the coronavirus will affect us for years to come, governments are trying to balance human rights with monitoring infection until a vaccine is developed. Many governments have implemented surveillance technologies such as tracking apps, tracing credit card transactions, facial recognition, and even video footage.

Yet these technologies undermine the core values of liberal democratic societies. They impinge on the rights to freedom of movement, privacy and emerging data.

Other measures have been utilized. Existing technologies such as tracking cellphone tower pings and GPS locations have already been put in motion by some governments to enforce quarantine.

A pandemic like Covid-19 forces democracies to face the tension between protecting individual rights and confronting an existential threat to collective rights to health via the aforementioned surveillance technologies.

AI has also played an integral role in combating Covid-19, starting from laboratory to patient settings in diagnosis, to treatment and analysis of the virus itself, all the way to helping epidemiologists model the future of the virus.

Surveillance technologies and protecting the privacy rights of citizens is a key concern for many countries right now.