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Giving up privacy for COVID-19? Not with the right data.

By: Christoph Balduck

January 6, 2021

Privacy (or data protection) of citizens worldwide is under pressure.
In order to allow us to cope with crisis situations – such as international terrorism, Covid-19,… – privacy intrusive technologies (PIT’s) are being applied more and more.

Do we really have to give up our privacy in order to cope with this and future crisis?

Not really. When we make sure we understand our data, its relations, risks, potential and insights – prior to a crisis – we’re able to cope with unexpected events better – without having to compromise on privacy and data protection.

The better we’re able to manage our data, the better we know which data is relevant – resulting using in less data – of better use.

The schema underneath shows how managing your data (data governance) prior to a crisis will not only provide you with faster insights to cope with the crisis, but will also reduce the need to use extensive privacy intrusive techniques and ultimately increase citizen trust.

Using the right datasets in an anonymised way can often be just as good or even better to provide the necessary insights than using an excessive amount of (sensitive) personal data.

Example: the use of drones to identify persons on the street, in gardens, in their houses (heat-sensors) can be replaced by using aggregated Telco data. Cities and communes are often already using that data for city planning, crowd control etc. Any abnormal gathering or movement can then be detected based upon this aggregated dataset – without having to use intrusive video recordings who are often not only identifying persons, but also identifying people’s behaviour, private life, etc. – resulting in a disproportionate dataset. The use of aggregated Telco data can be evaluated automatically (AI,…) and confirmed manually (art. 22 GDPR) to dispatch police or other services – making it much less privacy intrusive.

Using the right data – maximising insights – with minimum invasion of privacy will ultimately lead to more trust of citizens to provide more information – resulting in a positive cycle of data & insights.

Want to know more about how to obtain more value and insights from your data and increase the flexibility to deal with any type of crisis situation? Don’t hesitate to contact us!