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Consumer Privacy During (and After) the COVID-19 Pandemic
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing  (IF4.5),  Pub Date : 2020-05-28, DOI: 10.1177/0743915620929999
Aaron R. Brough, Kelly D. Martin

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected consumer privacy, and what are the implications for the future of privacy and public policy? We argue that response to the outbreak has threatened privacy by reducing consumer control over the collection, sharing, and protection of some of the most sensitive types of personal information, including health and location data. Collection of these data has increased through widespread adoption of new surveillance tools to monitor and prevent contagion and enforce government-mandated lockdowns. In addition, new digital records that would not otherwise exist have been created as shelter-in-place orders have forced many consumers, including vulnerable populations, to replace offline activities with online activities. The pandemic response has further eroded privacy through governmentinitiated sharing of personal information and weaker protection of sensitive data. After elaborating on these changes, we discuss the implications for the future of privacy and public policy.