Thermal Imaging as Pandemic Exit Strategy: Limitations, Use Cases and Privacy Implications

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Authors: Hannah Schaller, Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna, and Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup


Around the world, governments, companies, and other entities are either using or planning to rely on thermal imaging as an integral part of their strategy to reopen economies. The announced purpose of using this technology is to detect potential cases of COVID-19 and filter out individuals in public spaces who are suspected of suffering from the virus. Experts agree that the technology cannot directly identify COVID-19. Instead, it detects heightened temperature that may be due to a fever, one of the most common symptoms of the disease. Heightened temperature can also indicate a fever resulting from a non-COVID-19 illness or non-viral causes such as pregnancy, menopause, or inflammation. Not all COVID-19 patients experience heightened temperature, and individuals routinely reduce their temperatures through the use of common medication.

In this post, we (1) map out the leading technologies and products used for thermal imaging, (2) provide an overview of the use cases currently being considered for the use of thermal imaging, (3) review the key technical limitations of thermal scanning as described in scientific literature, (4) summarize the chief concerns articulated by privacy and civil rights advocates, and finally, (5) provide an in depth overview of regulatory guidance from the US, Europe and Singapore regarding thermal imaging and temperature measurement as part of the deconfinement responses, before reaching (6) conclusions.

Our main conclusions:

  • Thermal imaging cameras detect infrared radiation and can measure the surface temperatures of people and objects from afar;
  • Thermal imaging is currently used in airports, public transit hubs, offices, retail businesses, health facilities, and on public streets;
  • Thermal imaging technology can reasonably correlate core temperatures with influenza infection in controlled environments, but technical limitations render it less effective in public settings with high pedestrian traffic;
  • Privacy and civil rights advocates have raised concerns about discrimination and loss of opportunity that can result from thermal imaging programs; 
  • Organizations considering the deployment of thermal imaging as part of their anti-COVID-19 strategies should carefully analyze whether the benefits of such measures outweigh the risks of discrimination, loss of opportunity, and the risks to the civil rights of individuals who will be subjected to this type of screening;
  • These concerns are particularly acute when organizations screen individuals en masse;
  • Advice from public health authorities, public health specialists, and other regulators should always be part of this assessment;
  • Organizations should, whenever practical, consult individuals who will be subjected to these measures as part of learning about their legitimate expectations when it comes to safety and other rights in the current stage of the pandemic.  
  1. Overview of Technologies Being Used

FLIR Systems, Inc., one of the largest makers of thermal imaging cameras, explains that the cameras detect infrared radiation and measure the surface temperatures of people and objects. They do this by measuring the temperature differences between objects. Thermal cameras can be used to sense elevated skin temperature (EST), a proxy for core body temperature, and thus identify people who may have a fever. This allows the cameras used to single out people with EST for further screening with precise tools similar to  an oral thermometer. As FLIR acknowledges, thermal cameras are not a replacement for such devices, which directly measure core body temperature.

FLIR explains that thermal cameras need to be calibrated in a lab, and be periodically recalibrated to ensure that their temperature readings match the actual temperatures of people and objects. FLIR recommends having cameras recalibrated annually. In addition to reading absolute temperatures, FLIR’s cameras have a ‘screening’ mode, where people’s temperatures are measured relative to a sampled average temperature (SAT) value. This value is an average of the temperatures of ten randomly chosen people at the testing location. The camera user then sets an “alarm temperature” at 1°C to 3°C greater than the SAT value, and the camera displays an alarm when it detects someone in this zone. As FLIR notes, a SAT value can be more accurate than absolute temperatures because it accounts for “many potential variations during screening throughout the day, including fluctuations in average person temperatures due to natural environmental changes, like ambient temperature changes.” 

The accuracy of a thermal camera’s reading is affected by several factors, including the camera’s distance from the target. FLIR suggests that the camera should be as close to the target as possible, and telephoto lenses might be appropriate for longer-range readings. The camera’s functions and settings can affect its accuracy as well and need to be appropriately configured.

Thermal imaging can be paired with various other technologies. Draganfly, Inc., a Canadian drone company, has mounted thermal sensors on what it calls ‘pandemic drones’ for broad-scale aerial surveillance. The drones are also equipped with computer vision that can sense heart and respiratory rate, detect when someone coughs or sneezes, and measure how far apart people are from one another to enforce social distancing. Reportedly, it can do all of this through a single camera from a distance of 160 feet. In a video interview, Draganfly’s CEO stated that the sensors can even distinguish between different kinds of coughing.

Thermal imaging has also been paired with facial recognition by some companies based in China, including SenseTime and Megvii. Chinese AI startup Rokid has mounted a camera on a pair of glasses that uses facial recognition and thermal imaging to identify people, measure their temperature, and record this information. In Thailand, thermal imaging has been integrated into the existing biometric-based border control system, which identifies travelers using fingerprint scans and facial recognition.

While many US locations still perform temperature screenings with handheld thermometers, interest in thermal imaging cameras is growing rapidly. Several thermal imaging companies claim to have sold thousands of units to US customers since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Thermal cameras are appealing as an exit strategy solution due to some promised advantages over handheld thermometers. They claim to detect the temperatures of many people at once, whereas handheld thermometers can only test one person at a time. They also claim to measure temperatures from a distance as people move. Theoretically, these abilities would lessen or eliminate the need for people to wait in line to have their temperatures taken, which in turn also reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. All of these promises should be weighed together with the limitations of the technology along with the implications to privacy and other civil rights. 

  1. Current Use Cases

Airports. Airports across the world are using thermal cameras to screen travelers. Some countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, and India, began using them in 2002-2003 (in response to SARS) or 2009 (in response to swine flu) and continue to use them in response to COVID-19. Some airports in these countries have installed additional cameras in recent months. Other countries, like Italy, have recently begun using thermal imaging at airports for the first time. Rome’s Fiumicino Airport is testing helmets equipped with thermal cameras, worn by its staff, to detect travelers’ temperatures. Other countries have resisted this technology. In the UK, Public Health England decided that British airports will not use thermal cameras, although the CEO of Heathrow Airport was in favor of doing so. US airports who are not using thermal cameras, are evaluating the possibility of doing so. Instead, screening procedures include taking temperatures with a handheld thermometer, looking for signs of illness, and requiring travelers to fill out a questionnaire. In response to plans of the US Department of Homeland Security to check commercial airline passengers’ temperatures, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is pressing the agency for more details, warning the global pandemic “is not a hall pass to disregard the privacy and civil liberties of the traveling public.”  

Transportation. Some Chinese cities are equipping public transportation centers with cameras that combine thermal imaging and facial recognition. Wuhan Metro transport hubs are being equipped with cameras from Guide Infrared, and Beijing railway stations are adding cameras from Baudi and Megvii. In addition, a Chinese limousine service has installed thermal cameras in its vehicles to monitor drivers and passengers. In Dubai, police are using thermal imaging and facial recognition to monitor public transport users via cameras mounted on ‘smart helmets.’

Employee Screening. Companies are using thermal cameras to screen employees for fevers. This is done broadly in China and South Korea at entrances to offices and major buildings, often using combined thermal imaging and facial recognition. Elsewhere, thermal cameras without facial recognition are increasingly used. For example, Brazilian mining company Vale SA is installing thermal cameras to screen employees entering buildings, mines, and other areas. Indian Railways installed a thermal camera from FLIR at an office entrance, among other COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Some US companies and organizations are also screening employees with thermal cameras, including Tyson Foods; Amazon, which is screening warehouse workers; and the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, which is scanning staff and patients. It appears that most US companies that have begun screening employees for fevers, like Walmart and Home Depot, are using hand-held thermometers

Public Facing Offices. As stated above, thermal cameras read skin temperature, and are not a substitute for temperature-taking methods that measure core body temperature. However, some locations are making decisions based solely on thermal camera readings. For example, in Brasov, Romania, a city office installed thermal cameras at its entrances, automatically denying entrance to  anyone with a temperature of over 38°C. Because thermal camera readings do not always match core body temperatures, there is a risk that people without fevers will be unfairly impacted by reliance solely on thermal camera temperature readings.

Customer and Patient Screening. Thermal cameras are growing in popularity among US businesses and hospitals as a way to screen customers and patients, respectively. A grocery store chain in the Atlanta, Georgia area is screening incoming customers using FLIR cameras. Customers with temperatures of 100.4°F or higher are pulled aside by an employee and given a flyer asking them to leave, in an attempt to handle the situation discreetly. Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas plans to screen guests at its properties and require anyone who registers a temperature of 100.4°F or higher to leave. Texas businesses and hospitals are also starting to adopt thermal cameras. Hospitals elsewhere are following this trend – for example, Tampa General Hospital in Florida now screens patients with a thermal camera system made by care.ai, a healthcare technology company.

Public Surveillance. Thermal cameras allow authorities and businesses to screen large numbers of people in real-time, making them ideal for monitoring public areas. In China, thermal cameras with facial recognition surveil many public places; some systems can even notify police of people who are not wearing masks. In several cities in Zhejiang province, police and other officials are wearing Rokid’s thermal glasses to monitor people in public spaces like parks and roadways. These glasses combine thermal imaging with facial recognition, as they also record photos and videos. Thermal sensing drones are also being used in numerous cities.

Use of thermal imaging has grown outside of Asia, too. In India, a thermal camera provider is considering installing its cameras around Delhi, both in public spaces and in businesses. Huawei has also offered thermal cameras as a solution to monitoring COVID-19 in India. Outside of Asia, in New Zealand, thermal cameras, originally developed for pest control, are being reworked to monitor for fevers in public places and are in use by some businesses. Police, in some areas of the UK, use thermal cameras to spot people breaking social distancing orders at night. The Quassim region of Saudi Arabia is monitoring the public with drones carrying thermal cameras.

It is uncommon in the US to use thermal cameras as a tool for public surveillance. However, police in Westport, Connecticut tested a Draganfly ‘pandemic drone’ to be used to measure temperatures and enforce social distancing, back in April. Westport police use drones for other purposes, but not for this kind of mass-monitoring. The program was quickly dropped when it was met with criticism by the public and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut, which criticized the effectiveness of the drones and raised privacy concerns. Other cities that were also interested in Draganfly’s drones, like Los Angeles, Boston, and New York, may still be considering them.

In addition to drones, some US entities are reportedly considering Rokid’s thermal glasses. The company is discussing the sale of its glasses with various US businesses, hospitals, and law enforcement departments.

  1.   Technical and Other Limitations

In general, thermal imaging is used in regulated clinical settings with validated clinical protocols to diagnose or detect illness and triage patients. The use of specific thermal imaging devices to detect possible cases of COVID-19 or for other medical purposes, in general, requires US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. In such cases, thermal imaging technologies would be considered by the FDA as medical devices. Concerning labeling for thermal imaging technologies, the FDA stated:

“When evaluating whether these products are intended for a medical purpose, among other considerations, FDA will consider whether: 

1) They are labeled or otherwise intended for use by a health care professional; 

2) They are labeled or otherwise for use in a health care facility or environment; and 

3) They are labeled for an intended use that meets the definition of a device, e.g., body temperature measurement for diagnostic purposes, including such use in non-medical environments (e.g., airports).”

The use of thermal imaging in non-medical environments, however, warrants the necessity to explore the technical limitations of using such technologies in high-traffic areas, like airports, for non-diagnostic yet medical purposes. 

The fact that fever or body temperature alone can be a poor indicator of viral infection or contagion complicates the validity of thermal scanning for COVID-19 surveillance. If not most of the time, fevers can be masked with over-the-counter or unrestricted treatments, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, that can alleviate signs of fever for up to four to six hours depending on the severity or stage of the condition. Non-infectious conditions, such as pregnancy, menopause, or inflammation, however, might also cause elevated temperature, which can render thermal scanning as highly sensitive but non-specific to any particular condition. For example, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause, affecting 75% of all women in this stage, for up to two years. Also, confounding factors like inconsistencies or variations in viral response or strain can render thermal scanning insufficient for detecting specific types of infectious diseases like respiratory viruses.

Scientific literature suggests that reliance on public thermal scanning to detect fever is concerning from an ethical standpoint, and, given its technical limitations, is not a reliable disease surveillance strategy to support phased reopening. In a study evaluating the utility of thermal scanning in airports, researchers concluded that because the technology would be applied in a public setting unbeknownst to public passengers, controversy and complexity around matters of opt-in/out consent are inevitable. Studies have shown that thermal imaging technology can reasonably correlate core temperatures with influenza infection. However, its technical limitations render it insufficient to detect fever in settings where several individuals are moving in different directions at once, like in public settings with random, high pedestrian traffic. FDA labeling requirements are consistent with this limitation, mandating that labels acknowledge that the technology “should be used to measure only one subject’s temperature at a time.” Therefore, thermal scanning protocols would likely require structured, individual-level assessments along with non-compulsory and non-coercive (freely given) consent to be somewhat successful and feasible within public health surveillance settings that adhere to ethical standards of personal autonomy.

  1. Privacy and Civil Rights Advocates’ Concerns

Privacy and civil rights advocates in the US have raised concerns about the potential consequences of using thermal imaging such as discrimination and loss of opportunity. Since thermal imaging cannot distinguish fevers caused by COVID-19 from other causes of high body temperature, equating raised body temperature with the virus would lead to many people falsely being identified as COVID-19 risks and facing the associated downsides of that label, including discrimination. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) points out that thermal cameras are surveillance devices that can “chill free expression, movement, and association; aid in targeting harassment and over-policing of vulnerable populations; and open the door to facial recognition.” In light of the questionable effectiveness of thermal cameras, EFF cautions against using them to monitor the public at large. The ACLU of Connecticut criticized Draganfly’s drones as “privacy-invading,” and urged officials only to adopt surveillance measures against the spread of COVID-19 that are “advocated for public health professionals and restricted solely for public health use.” These concerns are also expressed in the context of fears that surveillance technologies adopted during the pandemic may remain long after their original purpose has been fulfilled.

In a recent White Paper on “Temperature Screening and Civil Liberties during an Epidemic,” the ACLU recommended that temperature screening “should not be deployed unless public health experts say that it is a worthwhile measure notwithstanding the technology’s problems. To the extent feasible, experts should gather data about the effectiveness of such checks to determine if the tradeoffs are worth it.” The ACLU further recommended that people should know when their temperature is going to be taken and  that “standoff thermal cameras should not be used.” In addition, “no action concerning an individual should be taken based on a high reading from a remote temperature screening device unless it is confirmed by a reading from a properly operated clinical grade device, and provisions should be made for those with fevers not related to infectious illness.”

  1. Regulatory Responses

In the US, regulatory responses to taking one’s temperature in non-healthcare services scenarios are primarily stemming from anti-discrimination statutory obligations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently revised its rules regarding the Americans With Disabilities Act in the context of a pandemic. The revisions allow employers to take employees’ temperatures during COVID-19. They also allow employers to take job candidates’ temperatures after making a conditional offer, as well as withdraw a job offer if a newly hired employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. However, the guidance does not distinguish between manual temperature checks and thermal scanning cameras. 

This distinction drives many of the regulatory responses in Europe, where multiple Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) have published guidance on checking temperatures of employees, but also of customers or pedestrians. One of the regulators that draws a clear distinction between the two types of measuring temperature is the CNIL (the French DPA). According to the CNIL, “the mere verification of temperature through a manual thermometer (such as, for example, the contactless thermometers using infrared) at the entrance of a place, without any trace being recorded, and without any other operation being effectuated (such as taking notes of the temperature, adding other information etc.), does not fall under data protection law”. 

However, things fundamentally change when thermal scanning through cameras is involved. In this sense, the CNIL issued a prohibition: “According to the law (in particular Article 9 [of the General Data Protection Regulation] GDPR), and in the absence of a law that expressly provides this possibility, it is forbidden for employers to: 

  • collect the temperature of employees or visitors as soon as it is recorded through an automated process or in a paper file; [and]
  • collect temperature in an automated manner or to use tools such as thermal cameras.” 

The prohibition of these two types of temperature measurement echoes guidance issued by the French Ministry of Labor in its “National Protocol for Deconfinement Measures.” Before including a prohibition for temperature measurement with the use of cameras, the Protocol relies on the findings of the High Council for Public Health that the COVID-19 infection may be asymptomatic or barely symptomatic, and that “fever is not always present in patients.” It also recalls that a person with COVID-19 can be infectious “up to 2 days before the onset of clinical signs,” and that “bypass strategies to this control are possible by taking antipyretics.” The Ministry of Labor concludes that “taking temperature to single out a person possibly infected would be falsely reassuring, with a non-negligible risk of missing infected persons.” 

The Spanish DPA takes the position that taking the temperatures of individuals to determine their ability to enter the workplace, commercial spaces, educational institutions, or other establishments, amounts to processing of personal data without making any distinction in its guidance between manually held thermometers and thermal imaging. It seems to focus on the purposes for which individual measurement of temperature is used when making this assessment. The Spanish DPA highlights in its detailed guidance that “this processing of personal data amounts to a particularly severe interference in the rights of those affected. On one hand, because it affects data related to health, not only because the value of the body temperature is  data related to health by itself, but also because, as a consequence of that value it is assumed that a person suffers or not from a disease, in this case a coronavirus infection.” 

The Spanish DPA also notes that the consequences of a possible negation to enter a specific space may have a significant effect on the person concerned. Therefore, it urges organizations to consider, among other measures, properly informing workers, visitors or clients about temperature monitoring. They should also allow those individuals with a higher than normal temperature to object to a decision that impedes their access in a specific place in front of personnel who are qualified to assess possible alternative reasons for the high temperature and can allow access where justified. It is also relevant to note that, when it comes to lawful grounds for processing, the Spanish DPA does not deem consent and legitimate interests as appropriate lawful grounds. The processing needs to be based either in a legal obligation or in the interest of public health, ensuring that the additional conditions required by these two lawful grounds are met.

The Italian DPA (Garante) takes the position that taking one’s “body temperature in real time, when associated with the data subject’s identity, is an instance of processing personal data.” As a consequence of this fact, the DPA states that “it is not permitted to record the data relating to the body temperature found; conversely, it is permitted to record the fact that the threshold set out in the law is exceeded, and recording is also permitted whenever it is necessary to document the reasons for refusing access to the workplace.” This rule applies in an employment context. Where the body temperature of customers or occasional visitors is checked, “it is not, as a rule, necessary to record the information on the reason for refusing access, even if the temperature is above the threshold indicated in the emergency legislation.” 

It is important to highlight here that in the case of Italy, there is special legislation adopted for managing the COVID-19 pandemic that mandates temperature taking by “an employer whose activities are not suspended (during the lockdown – n.)” to comply with the measures for the containment and management of the epidemiological emergency. This special legislation acts as a lawful ground for processing. Once the legislation expires or becomes obsolete, taking the temperature of employees or other individuals entering a workplace will likely remain without a lawful ground. According to the Garante, another instance where special emergency legislation allows for temperature measurement is in the case of airport passengers. It should also be noted that neither the Garante’s guidance, nor the special legislation mentioned above make a distinction between manual temperature taking and the use of thermal cameras. 

By contrast, the Belgian DPA takes the position that “the mere capturing of temperature” is not a processing of personal data, without distinguishing between manual temperature taking and the use of thermal cameras. Accordingly, the DPA issued very brief guidance stating that “if taking the temperature is not accompanied by recording it somewhere or by another type of processing, the GDPR is not applicable.” It nonetheless reminds employers that all the measures they implement must be in accordance with labor law as well as the guidance of competent authorities. 

The Dutch DPA warned controllers that want to measure the temperature of employees or visitors about the uncertainty of detecting COVID-19 by merely detecting a fever. It also advised that “taking temperatures is not simply allowed. Usually you use this to process medical data. And this falls under the GDPR.” According to the Dutch DPA, “the GDPR applies in this situation because you not only measure someone’s temperature, but  you also do something with this medical information. After all, you don’t measure for nothing. Your goal is to give or deny someone access. To this end, this person’s temperature usually has to be passed on or recorded somewhere so that, for example, a gate can open to let someone in.” In further guidance on the  question of whether temperature measurement falls under the GDPR, the DPA explained that “a person’s temperature is personal data. (…) The results (of temperature measurement – n.) will often have to be passed on and registered somewhere to allow or deny someone access. Systems in which gates open, which give a green light or which do something automated on the basis of the measurement data are also protected by the GDPR.” The DPA also states that even when the GDPR is not applicable in those cases where the temperature is merely read with no further action, a breach of the right to privacy or of other fundamental rights might be at issue: “The protection of other fundamental rights, such as the integrity of the body, may also be expressly at stake. Depending  on how it is set up, only measuring temperature can indeed be illegal.”

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) warns organizations that want to deploy temperature checks or thermal cameras on site that “when considering the use of more intrusive technologies, especially for capturing health information, you need to give specific thought to the purpose and context of its use and be able to make the case for using it. Any monitoring of employees needs to be necessary and proportionate, and in keeping with their reasonable expectations.” However, it does seem to allow such practices in principle, but only after a Data Protection Impact Assessment is conducted. The ICO states that it worked with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner to update a DPIA template for uses of thermal cameras. “This will assist you thinking before considering the use of thermal cameras or other surveillance,” the ICO adds. 

The Czech DPA also adopted specific guidance for the use of thermal cameras and  temperature screening, taking the position that data protection law is applicable only when “the employer intends to record the performed measurements and further work with data related to high body temperature in conjunction with other data enabling the identification of the person whose body temperature is being taken.” As opposed to the Spanish DPA, which found that legitimate interests cannot be a lawful ground for processing such data, the Czech DPA suggests that employers can process the temperature of their employees on the basis of legitimate interests, paired with one of the acceptable uses for processing health data under Article 9(2). The DPA further advises that the necessity of such measures needs to be continuously assessed and warns that “measures which may be considered necessary in an emergency situation will be unreasonable once the situation returns to normal.”

In Germany, the Data Protection Commissioner of Saarland has already started an investigation into a supermarket which installed thermal cameras to select customers with normal temperatures for its premises, after declaring to the media that “the filming was used to collect personal data, including health data, in order to identify a potential infected person,” and this measure breached the GDPR and the right to informational self-determination. According to media reports, the supermarket decided to suspend the thermal scanning measure. In addition, the DPA of Rhineland-Phalz notes in official guidance that “the mere fact that an increased body temperature is recorded does not automatically lead to the conclusion that COVID-19 is present. Conversely, an already existing coronavirus disease does not necessarily have to be identified by an increased body temperature. Therefore, the suitability of the body temperature measurement is in doubt.” The DPA suggests that alternative measures should be implemented by employers to comply with their duty of care towards the health of employees, such as working from home whenever possible or encouraging employees to seek medical advice at the first signs of disease. The DPA of Hamburg is more precise and clearly states that “neither the use of thermal imaging cameras nor digital fiber thermometers to determine symptoms of illness is permitted” to screen persons to enter shops or other facilities. This can only be offered to individuals as a “voluntary service.” 

It seems that all DPAs which issued guidance on this matter have determined that  thermal scanning and temperature management are particularly intrusive measures. But their responses vary, from a clear prohibition to use thermal cameras for triaging people (CNIL, Hamburg DPA), to allowing thermal scanning in a quite restricted way (Spanish DPA), to possibly allowing video thermal scanning by default as long as a DPIA is conducted (UK ICO), to making a point about hand-handled temperature measurement as not falling under data protection law (Dutch DPA, Belgian DPA, Czech DPA, CNIL), to not making any differentiation between hand-handled temperature measurement and video thermal scanning when allowing such measures (Italian DPA). The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has not yet issued specific guidance on the use of thermal cameras or, generally, on the measurement of temperature. Given the diversity in approaches taken by European DPAs, it may be necessary for the EDPB to provide harmonized guidance. 

Elsewhere in the world, the Singaporean Personal Data Protection Commission advises organizations that “where possible, deploy solutions that do not collect personal data. For instance, your organisation may deploy temperature scanners to check visitors’ temperature without recording their temperature readings, or crowd management solutions that only detect or measure distances between human figures without collecting facial images.”

  1. Conclusion

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the use cases for thermal scanning cameras, their technical and medical limitations, the civil rights concerns surrounding them, and the up-to-date regulatory responses to their use in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 as countries are entering the first “deconfinement” stage in this pandemic. Organizations considering the deployment of temperature measuring as part of their exit strategies should carefully analyze whether the benefits of such measures outweigh the risks of discrimination, loss of opportunity, and the risks to the civil rights of the individuals who will be subjected to this type of screening en masse. Advice from public health authorities, public health specialists, and other regulators should always be part of this assessment, as well as consulting individuals who will be subjected to these measures as part of learning about their legitimate expectations when it comes to safety in the current stage of the pandemic versus other rights.   

 

The authors thank Charlotte Kress for her research support. 

 

For any inquiries, the authors can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected]