School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Queen's Contagion Cultures Lecture Series

July 28, 2020 

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Personal Data, Surveillance and Contagion

David Lyon
Director, Surveillance Studies Centre; Professor, Department of Sociology, Queen's University

Contact-tracing apps have been much in the news during the pandemic and as they represent particularly intimate tracking systems they have naturally been seen as a rather controversial form of surveillance. Yet as a “second wave” attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus they are frequently seen as a highly plausible tech solution by Big Data advocates. In this talk, David Lyon will discuss the reasons why such systems would be thought of as a potentially undesirable form of surveillance, the range of contexts in which they are being used—from Singapore to Israel/Palestine to the UK, as well as in Canada—and the sorts of safeguards that should be in place where such systems are mooted.