Technology in the Fight Against Covid-19: Implications on Human Rights and Recommendations

Natalie Ward, Fordham University


The aim of this thesis is to shed light on the ways in which emerging technologies have been used to combat COVID-19. In response to the pandemic, governments, private sector businesses, and other entities have been implementing and scaling new innovations to combat the spread of disease in unprecedented ways. Understanding ethical dilemmas associated with the implementation of new technologies is examined through critically examining AI use in China, location tracking in the US, and contact tracing efforts globally. Through analyzing technological tools used in China, the US, and beyond, this work aims to offer suggestions on what key questions and considerations should be taken into account when scaling surveillance technology to fight a pandemic. Ethical frameworks from the humanitarian sector must be instituted to ensure that data rights and freedoms of citizens are not compromised, neglected, or trampled on. By discussing the societal implications of using technology to respond to a pandemic, this work concludes with advocating for humanitarian actors to be at the center of decisions surrounding how to implement emerging technologies that can help minimize the risk and impact of a pandemic, without costing people their privacy.

Subject Area

Ethics|Artificial intelligence|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Ward, Natalie, "Technology in the Fight Against Covid-19: Implications on Human Rights and Recommendations" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27964353.