Tech vs. Covid-19: What Threats And Opportunities For Democracy? - RSA

Tech vs. Covid-19: What Threats And Opportunities For Democracy?

Fellowship events


Online (via Zoom)

Join this RSA Global event, hosted in partnership with the RSA’s Augmented Society Network, as we question technological responses to the pandemic and issues of data privacy, trust, transparency and accountability.

Around the world, governments are boosting high-tech surveillance capabilities to stem the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, technology companies and members of society they are meant to serve are contending with another threat – what the head of the World Health Organization has called an ‘infodemic’ of false information online. Mixed with the public’s growing push back on technology and our greater awakening to the personal data that continues to be mined, the opportunities to mitigate further disaster due to the pandemic through “Track and Trace” products are equally promising and challenging.

Before we can reach positive outcomes, we must question: how much do we trust our governments, the technologies and the institutions behind such measures? Are we more willing to surrender our freedoms and privacy online in the face of convenience, fear, safety and/or distrust? What are the longer-term consequences for our democratic societies as we emerge from the crisis? And, what worthwhile policies and practices need to be set in order to ensure success in disease mitigation, security and privacy?

The event will last 1h30 and will be divided into two main parts:

1. Panel discussion with three guest speakers chaired by Zoë Camper of the RSA’s Augmented Society Network (1 hour)

2. Interactive breakout groups and plenary guided by the Augmented Society Network’s Jonathan Tavss (30 mins): We will reflect on the panel discussion and discuss: How do we envision ourselves as democratically empowered and protected citizens within the digital environment? Has this vision shifted during the pandemic? And, how will this affect our perceptions of (and relations to) privacy and freedom in the longer term?

The event will kickstart at:

  • 09:00 am (Los Angeles)

  • 12:00 pm (New York)

  • 5:00 pm (London)

  • 6:00 pm (Berlin)


You're also invited to continue the discussion with the Augmented Society Network on 23 July, in their event "What Controls You?"


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