Journal article

Public acceptance of Privacy-Encroaching Policies to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United Kingdom

Stephan Lewandowsky, Simon Dennis, Amy Perfors, Yoshihisa Kashima, Joshua Paul White, Paul Michael Garrett, Daniel R Little, Muhsin Yesilada

Center for Open Science


The nature of the COVID-19 pandemic may require governments to use privacy-encroaching technologies to help contain its spread. One technology involves co-location tracking through mobile Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth to permit health agencies to monitor people's contact with each other, thereby triggering targeted social-distancing when a person turns out to be infected. The effectiveness of tracking relies on the willingness of the population to support such privacy encroaching measures. We report the results of two large surveys in the United Kingdom, conducted during the peak of the pandemic, that probe people's attitudes towards various tracking technologies. The results show that by and la..

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