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Preserving Privacy While Addressing COVID-19 - Microsoft on the Issues

– Microsoft

Julie Brill, CVP for Global Privacy and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft, and Peter Lee, CVP for Research and Incubation, share their privacy principles for governments, public health authorities, academics, employers, and businesses to adopt as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

The pair note Microsoft’s current partnerships and efforts to slow the pandemic and develop solutions to the COVID-19 virus. They also argue that as COVID-19 permeates the globe, digital privacy for individuals cannot be forgotten.

"Our approach is grounded in the belief that, for technology to succeed, people need to be in control of their data, and be empowered with information that explains how their data will be collected and used. Furthermore, companies need to be accountable and responsible for this data."

Brill and Lee explain in detail the principles of obtaining consent, ensuring transparency, collecting a minimal amount of data for public health only, providing individuals the choice about data storage, safeguarding the information, and having a data deletion plan. They outline each of these seven principles, and their importance specifically as they relate to data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tracking individuals who are infected, tracing those with whom they have recently come into physical contact and making testing available to those contacts may play an important role in managing the next phase of COVID-19 around the world… This requires special care, as sensitive data about our location and health status may be involved

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