ACTIVE RESEARCH, DIGITAL HEALTH, PANDEMIC, PUBLIC HEALTH, SURVEILLANCE

Research Summary

This research project investigates digital technological surveillance strategies purported to mitigate the spread and scope of COVID-19. Patel (2020) argues that “while data can save lives at times of global public health crisis…it can only do this effectively if its use, management and governance, even at times of crisis, is underpinned by clear rules (grounded in law, ethics and human rights) about how best to use data; and trust in institutions to use data well”. Yet, the urgency to control the spread of COVID-19 has effectively limited opportunities to thoroughly consider the intended (disease containment) and unintended (e.g., violation of ethical practices and human rights standards) consequences (Patel, 2020).

We believe that decisions regarding the design, development, implementation and evaluation of digital surveillance technologies and the data generated from these technologies requires analytical oversight only possible at the intersection of diverse perspectives rather than a singular disciplinary or sector-specific viewpoint. 

The proposed research involves a carefully constructed multi-disciplinary research team intended to investigate the use of digital technologies for surveillance in service of the management and mitigation of the Covid-19 pandemic.  We will investigate technologies used within the global context and conduct a multidisciplinary analysis (using multi-sectoral indicators such as medical / public health, privacy, human rights, health policy, legal, gender) of technological surveillance strategies proposed to facilitate public health pandemic response (e.g., physical distancing and case contact tracing and management) to determine the short-(pandemic) and long-term (non-pandemic) implications of these strategies on multiple outcomes related to health, the economy, social and human rights. 

Team/Advisors

Bibi Imre-Millei

Master’s student, Queen’s University Project coordinator, Gender Lab at the Centre for International and Defence Policy
Bibi is a Master’s student at Queen’s University. She has researched the use of swarm drones in surveillance as well as the use of biometric data in Iraq
and Afghanistan. Bibi also works as a project coordinator at the Gender Lab at the Centre for International and Defence Policy.

Dr. Anita Kothari

Associate professor, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University
Dr. Kothari is an associate professor at the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University. Her expertise is in health research methodology,
population health, and health policy and services. She has partnered research alignments in the area Public Health systems and services.

Dr. Bradley Hiebert

Research Associate, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University
Dr. Hiebert is a Research Associate in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University focusing on rural health, masculinity, and how
digital health technologies (drones) impact health and health information behaviours.

Dr. Jacob Shelley

Assistant professor, Faculty of Law and School of Health Studies, Western University Co-director of the Health Ethics, Law and Policy (HELP) Lab
Dr. Shelley is an assistant professor jointly appointed to the Faculty of Law and School of Health Studies. His interest is on the use of law in the prevention
of disease; currently investigating the policy responses to COVID-19. He is a co-director of the Health Ethics, Law and Policy (HELP) Lab along with Dr. Maxwell Smith.

Dr. Jacquie Burkell

Associate Vice-President (Research) Associate professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Sciences, Western University
Dr. Burkell is the associate Vice-President of Research at Western University and an associate professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Sciences
with a research focus on the social impact of technology and examines how technological mediation changes social interaction and information behaviour.

Dr. Joanna Redden

Assistant professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University Co-director, Data Justice Lab
Dr. Redden is an assistant professor with the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University. She is co-director of the Data Justice Lab and works
on projects mapping the implications of predictive and automated systems and redressing data harms.

Dr. Jodi Hall

Professor, School of Nursing, Western-Fanshawe program
Dr. Hall is a professor in the School of Nursing, Western-Fanshawe program. Her expertise is on the impact of surveillance, policing, and criminalization on
oppressed communities.

Dr. Maxwell Smith

Bioethicist and assistant professor, School of Health Studies, Western University Co-Chair, Ethics Table, Ontario’s COVID-19 Health System Response
Dr. Smith is a bioethicist and assistant professor in the School of Health Studies. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Ethics Table within Ontario’s COVID..
Dr. Smith is a bioethicist and assistant professor in the School of Health Studies. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Ethics Table within Ontario’s COVID-19 Health System Response and is a member of WHO’s Working Group on Ethics and COVID-19.

Dr. Saverio Stranges

Professor and Chair of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine
Dr. Stranges is a professor and Chair of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Schulich School of Medicine), is a public health physician and epidemiologist
with expertise in population-based studies and global health.

Dr. Tommy Cooke

Postdoctoral fellow, Surveillance Studies Centre, Queen’s University
Dr. Cooke is a postdoctoral fellow at the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University.
He is leading a multidisciplinary collaboration recording and analyzing the lifecycle of location metadata on smartphones.
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Leigha Comer

PhD student, York University
Leigha is a Research Associate at Western University and supports the Health in All Data team with knowledge translation projects.
Leigha is a PhD student at the Sociology program at York University where she researches chronic pain, drug use, and the impacts of panic around opioid-related harms on people with chronic pain and their access to opioids for pain management.

Mehak Sawhney

PhD candidate, McGill University
Mehak is a PhD candidate at McGill University who has worked with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the MS Merian-R.
Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies in India. Her work focuses on urban soundscapes, sound, and surveillance through machine learning.

Ozge Girgin

PhD candidate, Queen’s University Research assistant, Surveillance Studies Centre
Ozge is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University and a research assistant with the Surveillance Studies Centre.
She researches the use of digital technology in Turkey and, most recently, has been investigating the use of mobile health applications by young adults in Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spencer Huesken

PhD candidate, Queen’s University Research associate, Community Health and Social Innovation Hub
Spencer is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University and a research associate with the Community Health and Social Innovation Hub.
Spencer researches the intersections between media, information, Big Data, and meaning making in relation to health and labour.