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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321752

ABSTRACT

Background: In a pandemic, when timely and clear communication is important, visuals on social media can help citizens quickly find and understand health risk information. In recognition of visuality and social media’s value during a crisis, we investigated popular Covid-19 risk communication with visuals posted on the platform Twitter. Looking at tweet authors, their use of graphics, the preventative messages, and risk framing, our objective was to determine how visual communication on Twitter promoted WHO Covid-19 health recommendations. Methods: : We sourced Twitter’s 500 most retweeted Covid-19 messages for each month from January - October 2020 using Crowdbreaks. Included tweets had to have visuals, be in English, come from verified accounts, and contain at least one of the keywords ‘covid19', 'coronavirus', 'corona', or 'covid’. Following a retrospective approach, we then performed a qualitative content analysis of the tweets’ text and visuals. Results: : Most of the tweets analysed came from influencers - individuals with many followers (51%), followed by media companies (30%), and health and government institutions (15%). At the start of the pandemic, the latter two were most prevalent. Analysis of visual formats showed that photographs were most common, and the majority of tweets combined them with other graphic types (55%). 68% of tweets had text in their visual, 42% of all visuals were animated, and 26% included a URL. ‘Stay home’ and ‘wear a mask’ were the most frequently communicated Covid-19 preventative measures. 70% of tweets used risk framing (emphasising health gains or loss), and 32% had tones of critique. Conclusion: This study found that the most retweeted Covid-19 preventative measures with visuals mostly came from individuals, showing that health and government organisations were not alone in promoting preventative measures on Twitter. This stresses the important role individuals play in the dissemination of information using social media during a health crisis. The finding that more tweets used health loss framing, often combined with the emotive medium of photographs, raises concerns about persuasive tactics feeding on fear. Future research is needed to better understand this approach's consequences and its impact on public perceptions and behaviours.

2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310952

ABSTRACT

Data collection and processing via digital public health technologies are being promoted worldwide by governments and private companies as strategic remedies for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic and loosening lockdown measures. However, the ethical and legal boundaries of deploying digital tools for disease surveillance and control purposes are unclear, and a rapidly evolving debate has emerged globally around the promises and risks of mobilizing digital tools for public health. To help scientists and policymakers navigate technological and ethical uncertainty, we present a typology of the primary digital public health applications currently in use. Namely: proximity and contact tracing, symptom monitoring, quarantine control, and flow modeling. For each, we discuss context-specific risks, cross-sectional issues, and ethical concerns. Finally, in recognition of the need for practical guidance, we propose a navigation aid for policymakers made up of ten steps for the ethical use of digital public health tools.

3.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e25120, 2021 02 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575528

ABSTRACT

Multisite medical data sharing is critical in modern clinical practice and medical research. The challenge is to conduct data sharing that preserves individual privacy and data utility. The shortcomings of traditional privacy-enhancing technologies mean that institutions rely upon bespoke data sharing contracts. The lengthy process and administration induced by these contracts increases the inefficiency of data sharing and may disincentivize important clinical treatment and medical research. This paper provides a synthesis between 2 novel advanced privacy-enhancing technologies-homomorphic encryption and secure multiparty computation (defined together as multiparty homomorphic encryption). These privacy-enhancing technologies provide a mathematical guarantee of privacy, with multiparty homomorphic encryption providing a performance advantage over separately using homomorphic encryption or secure multiparty computation. We argue multiparty homomorphic encryption fulfills legal requirements for medical data sharing under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation which has set a global benchmark for data protection. Specifically, the data processed and shared using multiparty homomorphic encryption can be considered anonymized data. We explain how multiparty homomorphic encryption can reduce the reliance upon customized contractual measures between institutions. The proposed approach can accelerate the pace of medical research while offering additional incentives for health care and research institutes to employ common data interoperability standards.


Subject(s)
Computer Security/ethics , Information Dissemination/ethics , Privacy/legislation & jurisprudence , Technology/methods , Humans
4.
Front Digit Health ; 3: 660823, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1497051

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is a public health challenge of unprecedented scale. In the midst of the first wave of the pandemic, governments worldwide introduced digital contact tracing systems as part of a strategy to contain the spread of the virus. In Europe, after intense discussion about privacy-related risks involving policymakers, technology experts, information technology companies, and-albeit to a limited extent-the public at large, technical protocols were created to support the development of privacy-compatible proximity tracing apps. However, as the second wave of SARS-CoV-2 sweeps the continent, digital contact tracing in Europe is evolving in terms of both technological and governance features. To enable policymakers to harness the full potential of digital health tools against SARS-CoV-2, this paper examines the evolution of digital contact tracing in eight European countries. Our study highlights that while privacy and data protection are at the core of contact tracing apps in Europe, countries differ in their technical protocols, and in their capacity to utilize collected data beyond proximity tracing alone. In particular, the most recently released apps tend to offer users more granular information about risk in specific locations, and to collect data about user whereabouts, in order to enhance retrospective contact tracing capacity. These developments signal a shift from a strict interpretation of data minimization and purpose limitation toward a more expansive approach to digital contact tracing in Europe, calling for careful scrutiny and appropriate oversight.

5.
Travel Med Infect Dis ; 43: 102143, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1306479

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The advent of mobile applications for health and medicine will revolutionize travel medicine. Despite their many benefits, such as access to real-time data, mobile apps for travel medicine are accompanied by many ethical issues, including questions about security and privacy. METHODS: A systematic literature review as conducted following PRISMA guidelines. Database screening yielded 1795 results and seven papers satisfied the criteria for inclusion. Through a mix of inductive and deductive data extraction, this systematic review examined both the benefits and challenges, as well as ethical considerations, of mobile apps for travel medicine. RESULTS: Ethical considerations were discussed with varying depth across the included articles, with privacy and data protection mentioned most frequently, highlighting concerns over sensitive information and a lack of guidelines in the digital sphere. Additionally, technical concerns about data quality and bias were predominant issues for researchers and developers alike. Some ethical issues were not discussed at all, including equity, and user involvement. CONCLUSION: This paper highlights the scarcity of discussion around ethical issues. Both researchers and developers need to better integrate ethical reflection at each step of the development and use of health apps. More effective oversight mechanisms and clearer ethical guidance are needed to guide the stakeholders in this endeavour.


Subject(s)
Mobile Applications , Humans , Privacy , Travel Medicine
6.
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 810, 2021 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1204063

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Covid-19 pandemic is characterized by uncertainty and constant change, forcing governments and health authorities to ramp up risk communication efforts. Consequently, visuality and social media platforms like Twitter have come to play a vital role in disseminating prevention messages widely. Yet to date, only little is known about what characterizes visual risk communication during the Covid-19 pandemic. To address this gap in the literature, this study's objective was to determine how visual risk communication was used on Twitter to promote the World Health Organisations (WHO) recommended preventative behaviours and how this communication changed over time. METHODS: We sourced Twitter's 500 most retweeted Covid-19 messages for each month from January-October 2020 using Crowdbreaks. For inclusion, tweets had to have visuals, be in English, come from verified accounts, and contain one of the keywords 'covid19', 'coronavirus', 'corona', or 'covid'. Following a retrospective approach, we then performed a qualitative content analysis of the 616 tweets meeting inclusion criteria. RESULTS: Our results show communication dynamics changed over the course of the pandemic. At the start, most retweeted preventative messages came from the media and health and government institutions, but overall, personal accounts with many followers (51.3%) predominated, and their tweets had the highest spread (10.0%, i.e., retweet count divided by followers). Messages used mostly photographs and images were found to be rich with information. 78.1% of Tweets contained 1-2 preventative messages, whereby 'stay home' and 'wear a mask' frequented most. Although more tweets used health loss framing, health gain messages spread more. CONCLUSION: Our findings can inform the didactics of future crisis communication. The results underscore the value of engaging individuals, particularly influencers, as advocates to spread health risk messages and promote solidarity. Further, our findings on the visual characteristic of the most retweeted tweets highlight factors that health and government organisations should consider when creating visual health messages for Twitter. However, that more tweets used the emotive medium of photographs often combined with health loss framing raises concerns about persuasive tactics. More research is needed to understand the implications of framing and its impact on public perceptions and behaviours.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Communication , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
7.
PLoS One ; 16(2): e0246524, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1060892

ABSTRACT

Governments around the globe have started to develop and deploy digital contact tracing apps to gain control over the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). The appropriateness and usefulness of these technologies as a containment measure have since sparked political and academic discussions globally. The present paper contributes to this debate through an exploration of how the national daily newspapers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland reported on the development and adoption of digital contact-tracing apps during early and after stages of the lockdown. These countries were among the first in Europe to develop apps and were critical voices in the debate of decentralized vs. centralized data processing. We conducted thematic analysis on news coverage published between January and May 2020 in high-circulation national daily newspapers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. A total of 148 articles from nine newspaper companies were included in the final analysis. From our analysis emerged six core themes of the development and adoption of digital contact tracing apps: 1) data governance; 2) role of IT giants; 3) scientific rigor; 4) voluntariness; 5) functional efficacy; 6) role of the app. These results shed light on the different facets of discussion regarding digital contact tracing as portrayed in German-speaking media. This study complements emerging survey data on public perceptions of digital contact tracing apps by providing a better understanding of the ideas circulating in the media ecosystem.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Contact Tracing , Austria , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Germany , Humans , Newspapers as Topic , Perception , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires , Switzerland
9.
Swiss Med Wkly ; 150: w20457, 2020 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979197

ABSTRACT

In the wake of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), contact tracing has become a key element of strategies to control the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Given the rapid and intense spread of SARS-CoV-2, digital contact tracing has emerged as a potential complementary tool to support containment and mitigation efforts. Early modelling studies highlighted the potential of digital contact tracing to break transmission chains, and Google and Apple subsequently developed the Exposure Notification (EN) framework, making it available to the vast majority of smartphones. A growing number of governments have launched or announced EN-based contact tracing apps, but their effectiveness remains unknown. Here, we report early findings of the digital contact tracing app deployment in Switzerland. We demonstrate proof-of-principle that digital contact tracing reaches exposed contacts, who then test positive for SARS-CoV-2. This indicates that digital contact tracing is an effective complementary tool for controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Continued technical improvement and international compatibility can further increase the efficacy, particularly also across country borders.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Contact Tracing/methods , Disease Notification/methods , Mobile Applications , Smartphone , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Confidentiality , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland/epidemiology , Wireless Technology
11.
Nature Machine Intelligence ; 2(6):301-304, 2020.
Article | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-786674

ABSTRACT

Contact-tracing apps could help keep countries open before a vaccine is available. But do we have a sufficient understanding of their efficacy, and can we balance protecting public health with safeguarding civil rights? We interviewed five experts, with backgrounds in digital health ethics, internet law and social sciences.

12.
Lancet Digit Health ; 2(8): e425-e434, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-623987

ABSTRACT

Data collection and processing via digital public health technologies are being promoted worldwide by governments and private companies as strategic remedies for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic and loosening lockdown measures. However, the ethical and legal boundaries of deploying digital tools for disease surveillance and control purposes are unclear, and a rapidly evolving debate has emerged globally around the promises and risks of mobilising digital tools for public health. To help scientists and policy makers to navigate technological and ethical uncertainty, we present a typology of the primary digital public health applications that are in use. These include proximity and contact tracing, symptom monitoring, quarantine control, and flow modelling. For each, we discuss context-specific risks, cross-sectional issues, and ethical concerns. Finally, recognising the need for practical guidance, we propose a navigation aid for policy makers and other decision makers for the ethical development and use of digital public health tools.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Contact Tracing/ethics , Digital Technology , Population Surveillance , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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