Digital Contact Tracing – An Examination of Uptake in UK and Germany

31 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2021

See all articles by Alicia Wee

Alicia Wee

Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance

Mark Findlay

Singapore Management University - Yong Pung How School of Law; Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance

Date Written: September 1, 2021

Abstract

At the start of the pandemic, our research on community disquiet surrounding tracking and tracing surveillance used as COVID-19 control led us to our conclusion that a failure to engage with the public in the development and execution of the technology had a negative influence on the way it has been received. In this paper, we sought to test our view: that damaged or absent trust, relating to the technology or its sponsors (particularly governments), was key in understanding the way community disquiet constrained efficacy of the control policy. However, initial findings have demonstrated instances where trust relationships were damaged this did not always or consistently appear to deter significant rates of downloads. Conversely, initial public engagement and approval of the technology likewise did not always or consistently result in requisite uptake rates being met, for the technology to work as planned. Through our survey of the UK and German app, how trust is created and maintained is neither simple not inevitable. Externalities beyond community engagement effected trust in various ways depending on the wider socio-political control environment prevailing. What can be said of trust and engagement is that their absence, along with other influences of public permission and approval, can have an impact on how control initiatives are received by data subjects. Therefore if trust and engagement are not magic bullets for efficacy, their absence will produce disquiet and this can impact on the sustainability of pandemic control policy.

Keywords: COVID-19, Contact Tracing Applications, Trust, Disquiet, Digital Contact Tracing

Suggested Citation

Wee, Alicia and Findlay, Mark James, Digital Contact Tracing – An Examination of Uptake in UK and Germany (September 1, 2021). SMU Centre for AI & Data Governance Research Paper No. 10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3915303 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3915303

Alicia Wee

Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore
Singapore

Mark James Findlay (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - Yong Pung How School of Law ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943
Singapore

Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore
Singapore

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