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Camille Castelyn Discusses Data Privacy and Contact Tracing in The South African Journal of Bioethics and Law

Camille Castelyn, a student in Columbia’s M.S. in Bioethics program, co-authored an article in the July 2020 issue of The South African Journal of Bioethics and Law. The article discusses issues of privacy and data protection during the times of a pandemic, specifically in South Africa.

In efforts to battle COVID-19, many countries—including South Africa—have resorted to contact tracing as a means to track the direction of the virus’s spread by tapping into people’s personal information, oftentimes with no consent to do so. The article outlines the importance of data privacy protection and its fundamental role in a democratic society. Castelyn outlines the necessity for COVID-19 disaster regulations that will address principles ensuring more data privacy and minimal limitations on human rights.

The abstract states, "The contact tracing regulations included in the COVID-19 disaster regulations include some basic principles to ensure privacy; however, other important principles are not addressed. These include principles of transparency and data security. The envisaged future use of human data for research purposes, albeit de-identified, needs to be addressed by the COVID-19 designated judge appointed under the regulations." 

Castelyn is a Managing Editor of Voices in Bioethics and is pursuing a PhD in Health Ethics at the University of Pretoria's Centre for Ethics and Philosophy of Health Sciences. 

Read the full article, and learn more about the M.S. in Bioethics program.