On the responsible use of digital data to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic - Nature Medicine
Describing best practices to maintain responsible data-collection and processing.
Large-scale collection of mobile data from millions of users, especially call-data records and social-media reports, is of particular value in outbreaks, for which official data and reliable forecasts are still scarce. In large-scale collection of mobile data, the principle of proportionality should apply; data collection must (i) be proportional to the seriousness of the public-health threat, (ii) be limited to what is necessary to achieve a specific public-health objective, and (iii) be scientifically justified. At the data-processing level, data quality and security controls are needed, preventing Data-integrity weaknesses and data breaches. Overriding consent and privacy rights in the name of disease surveillance may fuel public distrust and ultimately turn out to be disadvantageous. Therefore, whenever access to these data sources is required and is deemed proportional, the public should be adequately informed.