The Public Health, Surveillance, and Human Rights (PHSHR) Network is an international, interdisciplinary group of organizations and leaders from industry, civil society, government and academia focused on building frameworks that map and address the risks, opportunities, and challenges posed by the public health surveillance crucial to stemming the Covid-19 pandemic. The PHSHR Network will share knowledge, best practices, and ideas for designing the policies and technologies that will monitor and evaluate surveillance practices and protect privacy and, therefore, safeguard health in its broadest meaning.
Given the role that advanced technologies may play in gathering the highly personal data needed for health surveillance, critical thinking that anticipates how to maximize positive health effects, while preventing breaches of privacy and non-health related uses of such data is necessary. It is especially important to address how health surveillance practices will have disparate impacts on more vulnerable communities, and to employ methods that ensure that both health benefits and appropriate protections of personal data are equally available. As the momentum for public health surveillance at scale builds globally—likely at a faster pace than the development of policy, regulatory systems, and research—coordinated discussion is critical. A transregional conversation, bringing together varied experiences and debates, is especially needed in order to share best practices, weigh options, and make recommendations.
The PHSHR Network will generate recommendations for technology design, policy interventions, the role of advocacy and watchdog organizations, and for conducting research in real time. In an effort to connect and amplify the work of all involved, SSRC staff, with the guidance of network members, will generate several frameworks that take into account both public health and human rights concerns, that can inform policymaking efforts, targeting dissemination for Fall 2020 to multiple publics.