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Technologies, such as track and trace apps, used to halt the spread of covid-19 have to be thoroughly ex- amined and regulated before they are rolled out for wider adoption, to ensure they do not normalise a big-brother- like society post-covid-19, says new research from Durham University Business School.

Conducted by Jeremy Aroles, Assistant Professor in Organisation Studies at Durham University Business School, alongside Aurélie Leclercq-Vandelan- noitte, Professor of Management of Information Systems at IÉSEG School

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prove safety, the acceptance and use of these technologies has become the new “normal” for many of us, there- fore it is important that these sys- tems of control are heavily vetted and cross-examined before being rolled out to the wider public.”

The researchers suggest three solu- tions regarding the development and use of covid-19-related technologies. First, the public should question the locus of collective responsibility. In- creasingly complex systems of control and surveillance have been fuelled by our reliance on technology which, the

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Covid-19 technologies must be regulated

ramifications of the control systems they’re opting in to.

Third, given that covid-19 tracking technologies are developed by compa- nies for the benefit of governments, it is vital that greater regulation of the partnerships between state authorities and companies is adopted. Alongside this, it is also important that count- er-powers such as journalists and the public hold these partnerships to ac- count, to ensure they do not violate the privacy of citizens for financial gain. The researchers state that it is import- ant that the covid-19 pandemic is not

of Management, this research draws from the concept of ‘societies of con- trol’, developed by the French philoso- pher Giles Deleuze, in order to analyse the technologies currently being used to tackle the covid-19 pandemic. Whilst the study acknowledges the public health benefits of these tech- nologies, the researchers state we must be wary of what technology is rolled out by governments and critical- ly cross-examine these. Dr. Jeremy Aroles says: “Presented as ways to curb the immediate pro- gression of the pandemic and im-

The researchers state that it is important that the covid-19 pandemic is not utilised as an opportunity to enforce a society of control and to normalise greater surveil- lance.

researchers say, has blurred our un- derstanding of the boundary between “good and bad” or “right and wrong”. Second, more must be done to raise people’s awareness of how digital technologies work, and the risks of adopting them across society. People are often, rightly, concerned over their privacy and the sharing of their data. It is therefore crucial that these tech- nologies are transparent and actively help individuals fully understand the

utilised as an opportunity to enforce a society of control and to normalise greater surveillance. They suggest that researchers or bodies specialising in the management of information sys- tems should be brought in to supervise the developments of digitally enabled control systems, such as covid-19 apps, and not to abandon them to companies that could violate the pri- vacy of citizens.


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