Volume 22, Issue 2, 2021

COVID-19 Pandemic and Media

Olya KudinaOrcid-ID
Pages 43-54

Bridging Privacy and Solidarity in COVID-19 Contact-tracing Apps through the Sociotechnical Systems Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic confronts people with moral uncertainty, where they balance daily the individual values, rights, and needs with the collective perspective. COVID-19 contact-tracing apps offer digital media to correlate the movement of people with COVID-19 cases with the help of integrated date from public health organizations. This helps to notify people when they come in proximity with carriers of the disease. Regardless of the differences in the technical setup and manner of introduction globally, the values of privacy and solidarity are often pitted against each other when discussing COVID-19 apps. In this paper, I reframe the COVID-19 tracking apps from being neither a messiah nor a destroyer of pandemic management, but as a localized and complex sociotechnical system helping to shape and qualify moral concerns. This will allow to not only expand the scope of discussion beyond privacy and solidarity, but demonstrate how the two can be bridged under careful consideration of the technical, sociocultural, and institutional embedding.