State Surveillance: Exploiting Fear during the Pandemic Crisis?

9 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020 Last revised: 6 May 2020

See all articles by Kirsten Hillebrand

Kirsten Hillebrand

Bern University of Applied Sciences - Institute Sustainable Business

Date Written: April 30, 2020

Abstract

During the pandemic crisis, state surveillance measures violated citizens’ privacy rights to track the virus spread. Little civic protest resulted—“safety first”? Indeed, many measures were implemented during the crisis without ever having been discussed in advance of the event of a crisis, which may raise ethical considerations, as individual consent to surveillance may change while experiencing fear. This short paper investigates citizens’ consent to voluntary data disclosure and state surveillance and what drives their consent. Preliminary results from an online survey conducted with 1,156 respondents during the onset of the crisis in Germany show that (1) fear increases consent to voluntary data disclosure, (2) fear increases consent to state surveillance directly and indirectly by fostering distrust in others, and (3) trust in the government increases voluntary and state surveillance. Repeating this survey after the crisis has abated will give insights into how consent to surveillance changes without fear salience.

Keywords: state surveillance, data disclosure, pandemic crisis, COVID-19, fear salience

JEL Classification: H12, H41, I18, O38

Suggested Citation

Hillebrand, Kirsten, State Surveillance: Exploiting Fear during the Pandemic Crisis? (April 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3593408 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3593408

Kirsten Hillebrand (Contact Author)

Bern University of Applied Sciences - Institute Sustainable Business ( email )

Brückenstrasse 73
Bern

Do you want regular updates from SSRN on Twitter?

Paper statistics

Downloads
243
Abstract Views
1,034
rank
172,359
PlumX Metrics