Young people’s views about the Government’s use of their data in response to Covid-19

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Data-driven decision-making has been central to the UK government’s response to Covid-19; the integration of data from multiple sources has been vital to predicting virus transmission, to informing policy, and to identifying vulnerable individuals. The Covid-19 pandemic has also prompted many of us to (re)consider how our own personal data is used; research suggests many individuals have been willing to accept privacy encroaching measures when faced with a choice between preserving privacy or protecting lives (Lewandowsky et al, 2021).
The Covid-19 pandemic has, however, impacted not just upon rights to privacy. It has had a significant impact upon children and young people: upon their mental health; upon parents’ ability to feed them; and upon their ability to escape unsafe homes (thus impacting upon rights protected by Articles 18, Article 24 and 27 UNCRC). Lockdowns have prevented young people meeting friends and family, impacting upon their rights to freedom of association (Article 11 ECHR, Article 15 UNCRC). Lockdowns, and self-isolation rules have prevented them from attending school and undertaking examinations, impacting upon their right to an effective education (Article 2 First Protocol ECHR, Articles 28 and 29 UNCRC). Many suffered significant repercussions from decisions to determine results using flawed algorithms.
Children and young people have been described as ‘the hidden victims of Covid-19’ (Barnardos, 2021). Whilst Article 12 UNCRC affords young people a right to express their views regarding matters affecting them, many decisions affecting children have been made without their involvement. Young people do not feel heard (Lundy et al, 2021). Recognising this, the AHRC-funded Observatory for the Monitoring of Data-Driven Approaches to Covid (OMDDAC, commissioned Investing in Children (a child rights organisation) to ask young people what they thought about how their data has been used to respond to the pandemic. This paper outlines the young people’s views.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2021
EventILPC Annual Conference 2021: Data in a Pandemic: Rights and Responsibilities - Online
Duration: 18 Nov 202119 Nov 2021


ConferenceILPC Annual Conference 2021


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