Weekly Roundup 4/3/2020

By Grace Chimezie | April 03, 2020

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Tech and Governance

In our previous blog post, we highlighted responses of organizations and government to the COVID-19 pandemic, with increasing policies and a strong recommendation to adopt social distancing to lessen the virus spread. Today, we summarize digital responses to COVID-19 by stakeholders, most of which center on raising concerns about citizen's privacy, and the ethical use of gathered data during, and after this crisis. For example, in the United Kingdom, the government is set to release a 'contact tracking' app, which detects nearby virus carriers, while in South Africa the publication of fake news related to COVID-19, has been criminalized by the government. In the United States, the Internet Society has warned that giving third-party access to encrypted data "creates a major vulnerability that weakens the security of law-abiding citizens and the internet at large."

Also, as factors beyond our control continue to reshape and redefine the nature of work, Slack (a favorite tool of NDItech) has provided teleworking guides to make the transition to virtual work environments smooth.

As we highlighted in the last round-up, Reuter's Graphics is providing readers with a real-time illustration of the spread of COVID-19, showing people affected with the rising casualties since the virus broke out in China. At this moment, over 1,096,593 have been infected globally, with 58,645 deaths (note: by the time you read this, the numbers may be much worse).

Top weekly tech articles curated for you:

COVID-19 Digital Responses


  • With social media networks cracking down on the spread of COVID-19 related misinformation, bad actors are turning to viral text messages instead, such as propagating false claims of ‘martial law,’ which experts are calling "a literal game of telephone" in text-messaging apps. 

Open Internet 

  • "Arbitrary arrests, surveillance, phone tapping and privacy breaches" have spiked acrossCentral and Southeast Europe as governments impose emergency laws to combat the spread of misinformation on COVID-19. Allie Funk, a Research Analyst for Freedom on the Net, a Freedom House team monitoring internet freedom, critiques these actions as alarming, and an opportunity for some authorities to exploit the crisis for their political gain by enhancing surveillance, increasing censorship, and restricting the free flow of information.