Call for Position Statements on Responsible Uses of Technology and Health Data During Times of Crisis

Event Overview

The Future of Privacy Forum, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, Duke Sanford School of Public Policy, SFI ADAPT Research Centre, Dublin City University, and Intel Corporation presents Privacy & Pandemics: Responsible Uses of Technology and Health Data During Times of Crisis — An International Tech and Data Conference, including a two day virtual workshop on October 27-28, 2020 to explore the value and limits of data and technology in the context of a global crisis. At 10 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, what role has tech and data played in combating the crisis, what have we learned about limitations of law, policy and technical tools, and what areas need reform and additional research?

Call for Position Statements

We are soliciting position statements from leading technologists, scientists, policymakers, data experts, companies, and regulators to assess early conclusions about how data and technology have each played a role in efforts to study, control the spread of, and track COVID-19. 

This call invites experts with a perspective on areas such as:

  • The limits of technology;
  • Technological advances that are needed;
  • Ways in which available data fell short;
  • Areas where access to data was limited; 
  • Challenges in access to data or interoperability issues;
  • Successes and failings of current tools;
  • The role of de-identification, including where it fell short;
  • The role of privacy engineering in developing trusted data and technology based responses to a pandemic;
  • The role of Data Protection/Privacy Impact Assessments in shaping privacy protective technical solutions; 
  • Tech and data impacts on disparities and equity concerns;
  • Role of trusted intermediaries in supporting data sharing;
  • Regulatory impacts on development/deployment of technology, or analysis of available data; 
  • Tensions between privacy and the need for data access for immediate crisis management.

We invite you to submit a 500-1000 word position statement to be considered for inclusion in the upcoming workshop. Authors of accepted submissions will be offered a $1,500 (US) stipend to participate in a relevant workshop session or invited to present a “firestarter” at the virtual event to be held October 27th and 28th 2020. Accepted submissions will be distributed to workshop attendees in advance for review, assessment, and discussion. The Planning Committee will also organize a number of invited presentations.

A workshop report will be prepared and used by the National Science Foundation to help set direction for the Convergence Accelerator 2021 Workshops, speeding the transition of convergence research into practice to address grand challenges of national importance. 

This event is sponsored in part by the NSF Convergence Accelerator and the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace programs, Intel Corporation, Israel Tech Policy Institute, Privacy Tech Alliance, and OneTrust, LLC.


Position Statement Submission 

We are inviting submissions of position statements to catalyze conversations around the future of privacy and technology during times of crisis. We are seeking original, provocative, well-argued statements of approximately 500-1000 words.

We are interested in statements addressing specific, practical, identified challenges faced by academic researchers, public health experts and agencies, technologists, policymakers, industry and others who have played a role in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Works by undergraduate students, graduate students, or unaffiliated scholars, as well as from individuals with academic and/or corporate affiliations are all welcome. Works by interdisciplinary teams, specifically those representing the convergence of fields such as engineering, biology, social, and computer sciences are encouraged.

Submission Deadline

Submission of draft position statements: September 30, 2020. **DEADLINE EXTENDED**

Submission Format

  • Submissions should be emailed to [email protected].
  • Submissions should be between 500-1000 words (1-2 pages), excluding references.
  • Submissions should include a separate cover letter listing all authors, affiliations, and contact information. 
  • Authors agree that position papers may be posted as part of the workshop proceeding and may be referenced in the workshop report.

Reviewer Team

  • Chief Reviewer: Jules Polonetsky
  • Special Reviewers: Artificial Intelligence (Dr. Sara Jordan), Biometrics and Digital Identity (Ms. Brenda Leong), Platforms and Advertising Technologies (Ms. Christy Harris), Local Government and Open Data (Ms. Kelsey Finch), Health and Genetics (Dr. Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup, Legislative and Regulatory (Ms. Stacey Gray), Tech Policy (Limor Shmerling Magazanik), Youth and Education (Amelia Vance), Mobility and Location (Chelsey Colbert), Global privacy and personal data governance (Dr. Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna)

Review Process

Position statements will be reviewed by at least three reviewers, including a subject matter expert. Reviewers will determine if a position statement will move forward for final decision on inclusion in the workshop.

Additional Information

For more information on this effort, including submission instructions, event details, or other questions, please contact Christy Harris at [email protected].