The COVID Alert SA app

Jeroen Seynhaeve / View all { 18 } / Vertaal naar Nederlands

Contact-tracing app (“CTA”) technology raises questions that are typically studied
in the ‘ethics of risk imposition’, because it raises a conflict of moral interests that
potentially poses a risk to people, to the harm they wish to avoid and to the values
they wish to protect.

The conflict of interests raised by CTA technology is motivated by the risk of harm that results from the clash of two intuitively opposing and mutually exclusive moral obligations: the moral obligation to contribute to, or at least not obstruct human collective wellbeing, versus the moral obligation to protect people’s individual privacy and autonomy.

Sharing personal information by means of CTA technology may pose a risk to the individual user’s privacy, while refusing to use the CTA may pose a risk to society’s collective efforts to curb the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic. I will in what follows analyse and evaluate both claims, and attempt to reconcile the deontological rights and duties these claims imply with the harmful and beneficial consequences they (may) cause, in an attempt to formulate a reasonable compromise as justification for why everyone that can afford it ought to contribute to CTA technology.