Governments across the world have opted to develop technologies to help deliver their ‘exit strategies’ from the COVID-19 crisis. In the UK, these technologies include digital contact tracing, symptom tracking and immunity certification, as well as changes to data governance and new relationships between public-sector institutions and private-sector providers.
In response, civil society organisations, academic researchers and privacy experts have been calling for a wider public and societal debate about these technologies. But convening that societal debate poses particular challenges – while it has never been more important to engage the public, it has also never been so difficult – both because of the pace at which these technologies are being proposed and introduced, but also because of the practical constraints of social distancing imposed by lockdown.
Drawing on emerging findings from the Ada Lovelace Institute’s ‘rapid online deliberation’ in May 2020, in collaboration with Traverse, Involve and Bang The Table, we explore what deliberating online can tell us about public perspectives on COVID-19 technologies – and about deliberation in exceptional circumstances.
Moderator: Reema Patel
• Russell Gormley, Research participant
• Mandy Phillips, Research participant
• Anna McKeon, Traverse
• Natalie Banner, Understanding Patient Data Lead, Wellcome Trust.