Social license for the use of big data in the COVID-19 era

Nayha Sethi, Jay Shaw (Lead Author), Christine Cassell

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Strategies to enable the reopening of businesses and schools in countries emerging from social-distancing measures revolve around knowledge of who has COVID-19 or is displaying recognized symptoms, the people with whom they have had physical contact, and which groups are most likely to experience adverse outcomes. Efforts to clarify these issues are drawing on the collection and use of large datasets about peoples’ movements and their health. In this Comment, we outline the importance of earning social license for public approval of big data initiatives, and specify principles of data law and data governance practices that can promote social license. We provide illustrative examples from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Original languageEnglish
Article number128
Number of pages3
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • data
  • social license
  • health
  • trust


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