Cisco Switzerland Technology Blog

Are we ready to use our personal data to save lives?

Friday, 17 April 2020

In my last blog, we explored at first glance, how we could deploy technology to assist in preventing suicide and enhance passengers safety. Now based on latest weeks and current situation, should we accept using our data to save lives?

In some countries this has already been deployed with success. As a society, are we ready for this? Or is this a temporary acceptation due to the delicate infectious situation?

Many countries suggest or are already using positioning data from millions of cellphones to monitor social distancing efforts and create a map of assembly hotspots. In Switzerland this step has already been achieved.

If this technology is used correctly, privacy at all time should be protected, any phone identification data, such as the SIM card number should not be provided to authorities and fully anonymized. How can we assure this is followed?

However, we also know, that several countries have been rushed through legislative bodies and implemented these technologies without adequate scrutiny or missing legislation.

In some countries for example, some citizens report receiving smartphone alerts when they have been near an infected person. People have a right to be concerned by the effect of such tactics.

This topic is especially relevant in some countries amid the revocation of personal liberties, policies that severely limit or even prohibit their outside movements have been implemented, all with the aim of stopping the spread and protecting at-risk patients from contracting the virus.

We finally observed that while saving human lives is an essential goal during this time of crisis, using technology to violate privacy and civil liberties could be far more dangerous in the long run in certain areas of the world.

Let’s be cautious, but I am always open to being pleasantly surprised! Be safe!



Leave a comment