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Digital Privacy in the Time of COVID-19

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Stuart Brotman looks at digital privacy issues as the country works from home.

Stuart Brotman, Fellow in the Science and Technology Innovation Program, looks at digital privacy issues as the country works from home. In the context of COVID-19, he writes:

"As much of the nation switches from office-based activities to remote work, it’s unclear how well we are prepared for such a seismic shift. Several potential problems come quickly to mind. Many company networks, particularly those supporting small and medium-sized businesses, are not protected from system contamination—viruses of a different kind that may be spread to company employees working at home (and vice versa).

The private devices these employees are using also may be unprotected, leaving open greater opportunities for foreign and domestic hackers to create digital disruption at an unprecedented scale, including fake news alerts that induce greater public panic. Finally, increased social isolation among new mandatory home-based workers will mean that more sensitive personal information beyond the business context will be sent to family and friends so that a feeling of daily normalcy can be maintained."

About the Author

Stuart Brotman image

Stuart Brotman

Fellow;
Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor of Journalism and Electronic Media, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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Science and Technology Innovation Program

The Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) brings foresight to the frontier. Our experts explore emerging technologies through vital conversations, making science policy accessible to everyone.  Read more