Covid Responses by IFF

Folks, many of you may have already noticed a lot of IFF’s work has started addressing several public policy responses to Covid-19. Our worries stem from how restrictions on digital rights, are often illegal, sometimes just a poor policy choice and likely to be a permanent measure even after the pandemic ceases. This is a time for social solidarity but it is also in our self-interests to remain watchful.

Over the past week, we have worked to support internet access without compromising net neutrality; preventing internet shutdowns that can compound health risks; and continuing our work against illegal surveillance drones which are likely to be used in heavy handed ways against people who are scrambling to arrange essential commodities and rations for daily living.

But the primary concern is Covid related surveillance. IFF recognizes the desire for people to help and build solutions but they need to consider privacy by design. All such impacts need to be examined as to their stated need and level of invasion into our personal privacy.

For instance, as we have explained today in this linked blog post the circulation of lists of people in quarantine – not only leads to individual harms of privacy, discrimination and threats of eviction from tenements, it further weakens social solidarity. Due to this we have written a representation to the Ministry of Health; Ministry of Urban Housing; and the National Real Estate Development Council to issue urgent advisories against the sharing of such lists that are primarily being circulated by digital means and also being pro-actively published by the websites or being circulated by some State Governments.


In the current scenario, this is often overlooked and less glamorous than fighting the disease head-on, but possibly has a longer tail of ramifications.

So, thank you, all of you. Keep the pressure on.