Managing Covid-19 in Cyberspace: Privacy Versus Security

Round Table

Cyber-enabled surveillance technologies have been credited for having successfully supported the fight against Covid-19. The case of South Korea, where authorities implemented a multi-layered surveillance programme, is often portrayed as a success story. However, there are legitimate concerns regarding the risk that in non-democratic regimes surveillance technologies justified by the health emergency will be used to install panopticon dystopias, reinforcing the authoritarian grip on power. This, in turn, complicates the already troublesome objective of reaching a global consensus on norms of responsible states’ behaviour in cyberspace. COVID-justified cyber power may translate, in other words, to a more unstable and divided cyberspace and in more harsh Great Powers competition, especially in and through cyberspace. How can liberal democracies support the emergence of ethically grounded global norms to balance privacy principles and public health measures?