Episode 90: How Public Health Monitoring During the Pandemic Can Affect Disability and Minority Populations

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 1:00 pm EST

Lydia X.Z. Brown & Ridhi Shetty, Center for Democracy & Technology; Paul Harpur, the University of Queensland


The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted people with disabilities. by causing crisis situations in many aspects of our lives, including medical care, education, mental health, and the loss of caregivers and support networks. In order to fight the pandemic, government agencies and private companies are often using technology to keep track of how public and private behavior is affecting the spread of the virus. Historically, people with disabilities, minority populations and the LGBTIQ+ community are often the least protected from this type of public monitoring and data overreach.

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC), as well as the MacArthur and Ford Foundations established the Just Tech COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants to understand the effects of COVID-19 on society and the role of technology in responding to COVID-19.

In this episode our guests will be two recipients of these grant awards, Dr. Paul Harpur of the University of Queensland (Australia) and International Distinguished Fellow at the Burton Blatt Institute; and Dr. Peter Blanck, University Professor and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Our guest list will also include their colleagues, Lydia X. Z. Brown and Ridhi Shetty of the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) to discuss critical questions and provide a framework for tech solutions to pressing issues such as online education and public health policy.