Is the Virus Wrecking Democracy? Chatham House

Most of the world's population has lived with some travel restrictions and social-distancing requirements at some point since the start of the year to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Economic recovery is a priority. Digital technologies allowed many people to safely communicate and work. The pandemic deepened dependence on technology tools and programs, explains Marjorie Buchser for Chatham House. “Before the pandemic, most democratic nations saw big tech as a toxic force bringing more plagues – such as manipulation, disinformation, democratic deconsolidation and extremism – than benefits to societies,” she writes. “During the crisis however, the prevalent argument has crystalized around immediate needs and the necessity of technology…. Citizens are generally more willing to share their personal data and consent to the deployment of surveillance technologies in the public space, especially if they believe that these measures constitute a necessary step to fight the virus or to resume their ‘normal’ lives.” Governments increasingly view surveillance technologies as key in contributing to economic recovery. Buchser urges transparency, public debate, informed consent, privacy protection, government regulations, evidence-based approaches along with checks and balances and sunset clauses. – YaleGlobal

Is the Virus Wrecking Democracy? Chatham House

Governments can avoid curtailing liberties to protect health during Covid-19 pandemic – resisting the sacrifice of privacy, democratic principles, human rights
Marjorie Buchser
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Read the essay from Chatham House about society's increasing reliance on technology during the Covid-19 pandemic and citizen readiness to give up civil liberties.


Consequences for Global Technology Governance  -	Widens national differences on privacy, transparency, inclusion and regulations  -	Shifts ethical standards on technology with new tradeoffs on public health, economic security and civil liberties   -	Casts doubt on democracies’ resilience and ability to respond to crisis  -	Marjorie Buchser, Chatham House
(Source:  Chatham House; sculpture, William Bout, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

© Chatham House 2019