[This post has been authored by Noyanika Batta, a Senior Associate at Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys. She is a 2018 graduate from Gujarat National Law University.]
There exist dichotomous views on the usefulness of surveillance and its relationship with public health. The disease control strategies adopted by the states often necessitate extensive surveillance practices having an overbearing and intrusive effect on the daily lives of its citizens. The debate thus lies in striking the right balance between public health and the need to strengthen public health infrastructures vis-a-vis privacy protection for individual citizens. With the rapid spread of COVID19 debilitating economies and causing health systems across the globe to crumble, it became imperative for governments and organizations to take immediate actions to protect its people. This in turn saw a fierce boom in surveillance technologies dedicated towards monitoring whole populations, with governments trying to chart the virus’ trajectory from broad swathes of personal data. This article seeks to examine the disproportionate risks to data privacy caused by the use of invasive and pervasive technologies such as contact tracing across the world.