School of Law

Responding to Covid-19: Surveillance, Trust and the Rule of Law

A blog series from the Criminal Justice Centre and the School of Law, coordinated by Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas and Professor Elspeth Guild

Government responses to Covid-19 have centered on surveillance as a key component of managing citizens and populations as the pandemic develops. Calls for enhanced surveillance- including generalised tracking, tracing and monitoring of mobility and movement- pose a number of fundamental challenges to the reconfiguration of the relationship between the individual and the state in democratic societies based on the rule of law.

This blog series will evaluate critically current and proposed surveillance-led responses from a domestic, European, comparative and global perspective. Contributions will develop new thinking in responses to Covid-19, including a fundamental rights and rule of law audit of responses to Covid-19. The impact of surveillance-led responses to processes of stigmatisation, inclusion and exclusion, citizenship and democracy will also be explored.

Blog entries

Patrons sat outside the Sherlock Holmes pub in London Regulating public heath on ‘Super Saturday’: misstatements and legal uncertainty
6 July 2020

Revised regulations make no reference to “two households”, “multiple households” or “groups of up to six”, or (for that matter) to ‘linked households’. The view - that two households "of any size" could get together in a “private dwelling" - was misplaced. 

Person's hand holding an iphone Digital apps in times of Covid 19: an illusionary solution
18 June 2020

How is it possible to believe, and to make people believe, that the actions of digital tracking and detection of the movements of potential patients will make it possible to re-establish a "normalized" health and economic order with an acceptable victim rate and to deconflict without too much risk?

Smartphone on a table with a screen showing contact tracing is enabled to detect coronavirus transmission An Exit Strategy from Covid-19 Lockdown: Surrendering to Surveillance with Different Design Choices
8 June 2020

There are many questions to be asked regarding digital contact tracing apps developed in response to the coronavirus crisis

The EU flag with a padlock in the middle of the circle of stars Covid-19: European rules for using personal data
4 June 2020

What existing national security legislation, new bulk analysis efforts, and emergency measures have different states deployed to curb the spread of Covid-19?

Big pink bubble with a location icon in the middle, surrounded by purple and yellow bubbles Covid-19: A New Struggle over Privacy, Data Protection and Human Rights?
4 June 2020

What existing national security legislation, new bulk analysis efforts, and emergency measures have different states deployed to curb the spread of Covid-19?

People walking through a tree-lined pathway in Green Park, London Open textured legislation in the times of Covid-19: 'reasonable excuse’ and legal certainty'
2 June 2020

This blog examines the problems that can arise when Parliament chooses to regulate conduct in an open-textured manner

A digital image of an eye representing surveillance Responding to Covid-19: Surveillance, Trust and the Rule of Law
26 May 2020

The purpose of this analysis is to focus on the multi-level challenges that, regardless of its form, what is in effect a post-Covid system of mass surveillance poses on well-established principles of law, rights, trust and citizenship