Disease surveillance data sharing for public health: the next ethical frontiers

Life Sci Soc Policy. 2018 Jul 4;14(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s40504-018-0078-x.


In the recent years, we have been witnessing a digital revolution in public and global health creating unprecedented opportunities for epidemic intelligence and public health emergencies. However, these opportunities created a double edge sword as access to data, quality monitoring and assurance, as well as governance and regulation frameworks for data privacy are lagging behind technological achievements.In this paper we identify three ethical challenges: sharing data across various early warning tools to support risk assessment. Secondly, define the challenges to be addressed by the legal frameworks for public health data sharing to unlock the potential of population-level datasets for research with no impact on citizens privacy. The third challenge lies with stricter regulation of the IT industry with regards to manipulating user data - such an initiative, GDPR, comes to force in the EU in May 2018.

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / ethics*
  • Public Health / trends*