Solutions to Big Data Privacy and Security Challenges Associated With COVID-19 Surveillance Systems

Front Big Data. 2021 Dec 15:4:645204. doi: 10.3389/fdata.2021.645204. eCollection 2021.


The growing dependency on digital technologies is becoming a way of life, and at the same time, the collection of data using them for surveillance operations has raised concerns. Notably, some countries use digital surveillance technologies for tracking and monitoring individuals and populations to prevent the transmission of the new coronavirus. The technology has the capacity to contribute towards tackling the pandemic effectively, but the success also comes at the expense of privacy rights. The crucial point to make is regardless of who uses and which mechanism, in one way another will infringe personal privacy. Therefore, when considering the use of technologies to combat the pandemic, the focus should also be on the impact of facial recognition cameras, police surveillance drones, and other digital surveillance devices on the privacy rights of those under surveillance. The GDPR was established to ensure that information could be shared without causing any infringement on personal data and businesses; therefore, in generating Big Data, it is important to ensure that the information is securely collected, processed, transmitted, stored, and accessed in accordance with established rules. This paper focuses on Big Data challenges associated with surveillance methods used within the COVID-19 parameters. The aim of this research is to propose practical solutions to Big Data challenges associated with COVID-19 pandemic surveillance approaches. To that end, the researcher will identify the surveillance measures being used by countries in different regions, the sensitivity of generated data, and the issues associated with the collection of large volumes of data and finally propose feasible solutions to protect the privacy rights of the people, during the post-COVID-19 era.

Keywords: Big Data; COVID-19; GDPR; contact tracing; data protection; privacy; surveillance.