Virtual conference to examine ethical tech policy in pandemic era

November 03, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A virtual data privacy conference, "Pandemic Surveillance: Privacy, Security, and Data Ethics," will be held Nov. 12-13 from 9 a.m. to noon each day, through Zoom.

The conference is being co-hosted by the Penn State Law in University Park Policy Innovation Lab of Tomorrow (PILOT), the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS), Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics and InternetLab, a policy think-tank located in Sao Paulo, Brazil that focuses on the U.S., Brazil, and the European Union (EU). 

"In the past year, as policymakers have championed data tracking technologies as the most efficient way to address the global pandemic, privacy experts have warned that these technological solutions may violate the spirit and letter of data privacy laws," said Margaret Hu, associate dean for non-juris-doctor programs and professor of law and international affairs, Penn State Law in University Park, and ICDS co-hire. 

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) describes itself as the strongest legal framework for data protection rights. Brazil followed the GDPR with the Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais (LGPD), or the “Law of General Data Privacy,” to protect the data privacy rights of Brazilian citizens.

"With the passage of the Brazilian Data Protection Law, Brazil joins the EU's GDPR as an international leader in developing a robust legal framework for data privacy,” said Nathalie Fragoso, head of research of privacy and surveillance, InternetLab, said. “Brazil has been deeply impacted by COVID-19.The technologies deployed to combat COVID-19 in Brazil and elsewhere must be carefully examined to better understand their impact on data privacy and cybersecurity."

Hu added, "The United States, like many other nations, lacks a comprehensive data protection law. There is no omnibus federal law in the U.S. that protects and regulates data collection, storage and processing.Instead, it is context-specific, for instance, protection of health and patient data under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Individual states have started taking matters into their own hands, like passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act. As a criminal procedure matter, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant. It is not clear how the Fourth Amendment may apply to Covid-19 surveillance technologies, especially if the data collection falls outside of a law enforcement context."

To help deepen an international dialogue on this timely and important topic, a distinguished group of global experts have been invited to participate in this event. The two-day conference hosts a discussion on data privacy and security, and technological responses to curbing the spread of COVID-19. The event will feature experts from the U.S., Brazil, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Argentina. Topics will include how to frame privacy and security in a digital age; historical and contemporary frameworks for privacy and security; COVID-19 tracking technologies; and future potential reform proposals in law, cybersecurity and data ethics.

Register at this link.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 03, 2020