Citation

Digital Surveillance, Civil Society and The Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author:
Nothias, Toussaint; Jasper, Kyra; , ; Beauvoir, Sophia; Bernholz, Lucy
Year:
2021

"As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, so did many digital technologies promising to improve the public health response. These technologies raised various concerns for civil liberties in the digital age, from infringing on privacy to institutionalizing mass surveillance capacities. This media monitoring projects explores how English-language news organizations worldwide reported on these digital surveillance initiatives over the period of a year. By analyzing news framing, we provide insights into the contours of public debates on digitally driven public health surveillance. The report sheds light on the evolution of coverage over time, its geographic distribution, whose voices were included and excluded from these debates, and the prevalence of mis/dis-information. It also highlights the place of civil society in these narratives; which civil society organizations appeared most often in the media; what roles they played vis-à-vis digital surveillance; and the racial and gender make up of civil society voices appearing in news coverage. We conclude by providing a set of recommendations and resources for civil society groups and journalists working on the intersection of civil liberties, public health, and digital technologies."