The Covid-19 Pandemic and Data Sharing for the Public Good

Project Description

Does the Covid-19 pandemic lead to a temporary or persistent shift in acceptance of data sharing practices for public benefit purposes? Under which conditions do individuals deem data sharing for the public good as acceptable or even desirable? How can we accommodate data collection and sharing practices and policy to meet the public's preferences? In the project "The Covid-19 Pandemic and Data Sharing for the Public Good: Attitudinal, Ethical, and Legal Approaches to Privacy During the Pandemic and Beyond" we conduct international surveys (in Germany, Spain, and the UK) at multiple time points to measure acceptance of different data sharing scenarios. We investigate how specific situational parameters of the scenarios affect acceptance and how acceptance changes over time, while the purpose of data collection is of particular interest. The project adds to our understanding of the context-dependence of privacy attitudes and, by involving ethical and legal science, informs data collectors and policy-makers on how to design practices and policies such that data for the public good is made possible in an ethical manner. This project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.


  • Gerdon, F., Nissenbaum, H., Bach, R. L., Kreuter, F., & Zins, S. (2021). Individual Acceptance of Using Health Data for Private and Public Benefit: Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Harvard Data Science Review, (Special Issue 1).