Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives

Data Justice and COVID-19

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives, edited by Linnet Taylor, Aaron Martin, Gargi Sharma and Shazade Jameson.

Please visit our shop for a limited run of paperback copies, and a .pdf digital download.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through case studies from around the world, this book analyses the ways in which technologies of monitoring infections, information, and behaviour have been applied and justified during the emergency, what their side-effects have been, and what kinds of resistance they have met.

The book contains 38 essays of commentary and analysis comparing and contrasting how different surveillance technologies have been rolled-out in response to the pandemic. With sixty different authors covering events in over thirty countries.

A limited print run of the book is available in our shop now, as a paperback or digital download. If you have questions about the book, then please get in touch!

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives

About the book:

In early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world and states of emergency were declared by one country after another, the global technology sector—already equipped with unprecedented wealth, power, and influence—mobilised to seize the opportunity. This collection is an account of what happened next and captures the emergent conflicts and responses around the world. The essays provide a global perspective on the implications of these developments for justice: they make it possible to compare how the intersection of state and corporate power—and the way that power is targeted and exercised—confronts, and invites resistance from, civil society in countries worldwide.

This edited volume captures the technological response to the pandemic in 33 countries, accompanied by nine thematic reflections, and reflects the unfolding of the first wave of the pandemic.

This book can be read as a guide to the landscape of technologies deployed during the pandemic and also be used to compare individual country strategies. It will prove useful as a tool for teaching and learning in various disciplines and as a reference point for activists and analysts interested in issues of data justice.

The essays interrogate these technologies and the political, legal, and regulatory structures that determine how they are applied. In doing so,the book exposes the workings of state technological power to critical assessment and contestation.


Ramiro Alvarez Ugarte, Naomi Appelman, Lilana Arroyo Moliner, István Böröcz, Magda Brewczyńska, Julienne Chen, Julie E. Cohen, Arely Cruz-Santiago, Angela Daly, Marisa Duarte, Lilian Edwards, Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva, Rafael Evangelista, Ronan Ó Fathaigh, Rodrigo Firmino, Alison Gillwald, Joris van Hoboken, Shazade Jameson, Fleur Johns, (Sarah) Hye Jung Kim, Dragana Kaurin, Mika Kerttunen, Os Keyes, Rob Kitchin, Bojana Kostic, Danilo Krivokapic, Vino Lucero, Enric Luján, Vidushi Marda, Aaron Martin, Sean Martin McDonald, Silvia Mollicchi, David Murakami Wood, Francesca Musiani, Grace Mutung’u, Daniel Mwesigwa, Smith Oduro-Marfo, Aidan Peppin, Bojan Perkov, Andrej Petrovski, Ate Poorthuis, Gabriella Razzano, Andrew Rens, Cansu Safak, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik, Raya Sharbain, Gargi Sharma, Linnet Taylor, Eneken Tikk, Jill Toh, Anri van der Spuy, Michael Veale, Ben Wagner, Tom Walker, Wayne W. Wang (pseudonym), Bianca Wylie, Karen Yeung, (Melissa) Hye Shun Yoon, and two anonymous authors.

Design and illustration by Carlos Romo-Melgar and John Philip Sage.


You can buy a copy of the book (and support future Meatspace Press projects!) in our shop now, including as a digital download.

To celebrate the release of the book we also have a limited edition series of postcards from the designers of the book, Carlos Romo-Melgar and John Philip Sage. And, we have a range of bundle discounts for those interested in getting paperback copies of our other publications (How to Run a City Like Amazon, and Other Fables; Our Digital Rights to the City; Towards a Fairer Gig Economy).


We hope that you will support the project by buying a paperback copy or donating for the pdf version on our shop. However you may also read the full book here on Issuu, or download a pdf version (8mb, compressed) via Internet Archive.


1. Introduction: what does the COVID-19 response mean for global data justice?
Linnet Taylor, Gargi Sharma, Aaron Martin, and Shazade Jameson


2. Technology theatre and seizure
Sean Martin McDonald

3. Papering over the cracks: on privacy versus health
Vidushi Marda

4. Sovereignty, privacy and contact tracing protocols
Michael Veale

5. Apps, politics, and power: protecting rights with legal and software code
Lilian Edwards

6. Instruments for pandemic governance
Karen Yeung

7. Who counts? Contact tracing and the perils of privacy
Os Keyes

8. The dangers of digital contact tracing: lessons from the HIV pandemic
Dragana Kaurin

9. Reining in humanitarian technology
Anonymous I

10. Digital emergency is/as the digital (new) normal
Angela Daly


11. [Argentina] Layers of crises: when pandemics meet institutional and economic havoc
Ramiro Alvarez Ugarte

12. [Australia] Counting, countering and claiming the pandemic: digital practices, players, policies
Fleur Johns

13. [Brazil] Modes of pandemic existence: territory, inequality, and technology
Rafael Evangelista and Rodrigo Firmino

14. [Canada] Amazon and the pandemic procurement response
Bianca Wylie

15. [China] Digital collectivism in a global state of emergency
Wayne W. Wang (pseudonym)

16. [Estonia and Finland] The politics of a pandemic
Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva, Eneken Tikk, and Mika Kerttunen

17. [France] Apps and submarine cables: reconfiguring technology in a state of urgency
Francesca Musiani

18. [Germany] Business as usual? Responses to the pandemic
Ben Wagner

19. [Ghana] Transient crisis, permanent registries
Smith Oduro-Marfo

20. [Hungary] Suspending rights and freedoms in a pandemic-induced state of danger
István Böröcz

21. [Ireland] A marginal contribution to the pandemic response?
Rob Kitchin

22. [Japan] High and low tech responses
David Murakami Wood

23. [Jordan] An e-government strategy that overlooks digital divides
Raya Sharbain and Anonymous II

24. [Kenya] Placing all the bets on high technology
Grace Mutung’u

25. [Mexico] Normalising digital surveillance
Arely Cruz-Santiago

26. [Netherlands] Techno-optimism and solutionism as a crisis response
Naomi Appelman, Jill Toh, Ronan Ó Fathaigh, and Joris van Hoboken

27. [North American Indigenous Peoples] Ruptured knowledge ecologies in Indian Country
Marisa Duarte

28. [Norway] Smittestopp: the rise and fall of a technofix
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

29. [Philippines] Fast tech to silence dissent, slow tech for public health crisis
Vino Lucero

30. [Poland] Policing quarantine via app
Magda Brewczyńska

31. [Singapore] A whole-of-government approach to the pandemic
Julienne Chen and Ate Poorthuis

32. [South Africa] Protecting mobile user data in contact tracing
Alison Gillwald, Gabriella Razzano, Andrew Rens, and Anri van der Spuy

33. [South Korea] Fighting disease with apps: reshaping relationships between government and citizens
(Sarah) Hye Jung Kim and (Melissa) Hye Shun Yoon

34. [Spain] Political incoordination and technological solutionism amidst the lack of tests
Liliana Arroyo Moliner and Enric Luján

35. [Uganda] Guerrilla antics, anti-social media, and the war on the pandemic
Daniel Mwesigwa

36. [United Kingdom] Pandemics, power, and publics: trends in post-crisis health technology
Silvia Mollicchi, Aidan Peppin, Cansu Safak, and Tom Walker

37. [United States] Capitalising on crisis
Julie E. Cohen

38. [Western Balkans] Instruments of chilling politics
Bojana Kostić, Bojan Perkov, Andrej Petrovski, Danilo Krivokapić


Title: Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives
Edited by: Linnet Taylor, Gargi Sharma, Aaron Martin, and Shazade Jameson
Publisher: Meatspace Press (2020)
Design: Carlos Romo-Melgar and John Philip Sage
Copy editor: David Sutcliffe
Format: Paperback and .pdf
Length: 304 pages
Language: English
Product code: MSP08201
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-913824-00-6
ISBN (pdf, e-book): 978-1-913824-01-3
DOI: 10.58704/941r-s927
License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Download a one-page .pdf with the book details here.

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