Big Data Technology Applications and the Right to Health in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 8;18(14):7325. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18147325.


Individuals have the right to health according to the Constitution and other laws in China. Significant barriers have prevented the full realisation of the right to health in the COVID-19 era. Big data technology, which is a vital tool for COVID-19 containment, has been a central topic of discussion, as it has been used to protect the right to health through public health surveillance, contact tracing, real-time epidemic outbreak monitoring, trend forecasting, online consultations, and the allocation of medical and health resources in China. Big data technology has enabled precise and efficient epidemic prevention and control and has improved the efficiency and accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment of this new form of coronavirus pneumonia due to Chinese institutional factors. Although big data technology has successfully supported the containment of the virus and protected the right to health in the COVID-19 era, it also risks infringing on individual privacy rights. Chinese policymakers should understand the positive and negative impacts of big data technology and should prioritise the Personal Information Protection Law and other laws that are meant to protect and strengthen the right to privacy.

Keywords: COVID-19; China; big data technology; epidemic prevention and control; human rights; right to health; right to privacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Big Data
  • COVID-19*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Right to Health*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Technology