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UN agencies uphold human rights considerations in COVID-19 data collection

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A coronavirus trace and track app is displayed on a mobile phone screen. Unsplash/Pascal Brändle

The United Nations and 15 of its agencies have underlined their support for data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic which respects the right to privacy and promotes development. 

Mobility data derived from phones, emails and social media, for example, can assist in both monitoring the spread of the virus and in implementing activities the UN is mandated to carry out, according to their joint statement issued on Thursday. 

However, they warned that vast amounts of sensitive data, both personal and non-personal, can be collected through digital contact tracing and general health surveillance. 

“This could have significant effects beyond the initial crisis response phase, including, if such measures are applied for purposes not directly or specifically related to the COVID-19 response, potentially leading to the infringement of fundamental human rights and freedoms”, they said. 

“This concern is especially pressing if some emergency measures introduced to address the pandemic, such as digital contact tracing, are turned into standard practice.” 

Critical role of human rights 

In May, the UN Secretary-General issued a policy brief highlighting how human rights are critical to shaping pandemic response, as they put people “centre-stage” while also preserving human dignity. 

The UN entities stressed that in the context of the pandemic, any data collection by the UN system should be rooted in human rights and applicable international law, data protection and privacy principles. 

“Any measures taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic should also be consistent with the mandates of the respective UN System Organizations and take into account the balancing of relevant rights, including the right to health and life and the right to economic and social development”, they said. 

Data collection precedent 

In this regard, they outlined five points, including that data collection should be lawful, limited in scope and time, and necessary to specified legitimate purposes for pandemic response. 

They also underscored the need to ensure confidentiality, security and proper destruction or deletion of any data. 

“A coordinated and inclusive global UN-wide response rooted in solidarity is necessary to contain the pandemic and minimize its negative impact across the world,” the UN partners said. 

Although the statement addressed the challenges of the current pandemic, they suggested that it may serve as a precedent for using data to respond to any future crises.

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World Bank Group and CES Announce Global Tech Challenge Winners

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image: ces.tech

World Bank Group and CES announced the winners of the Global Tech Challenge at CES®2021.

The result of a partnership between the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the World Bank Group, the Global Tech Challenge was launched at CES 2020 to reward scalable and innovative technological solutions in three main areas: digital health in East Africa, resilience in India and gender equality around the world. Technology solutions that helped communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic were also prioritized.

Selected among over 1,000 applications, three winners were selected for gender equality, 10 for resilience and 17 for digital health. More details about the selected innovations can be accessed here for health, resilience and gender equality.

Global Tech Challenge winners will have the opportunity to access financial and/or technical assistance to pilot and scale their solutions on the ground with private sector companies, governments and within development projects financed by the World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries.  

“From closing the digital divide to building resilience in the face of natural disasters or pandemics, innovation can solve some of the most pressing development challenges. The World Bank Group is pleased to support impactful programs focused on bringing equal access to connectivity to women in developing countries and to recognize cutting-edge solutions such as AI-enabled robots to rebuild homes in post-disaster areas. Now is the time to scale up solutions that have proven effective, so that no one is left behind in the new digital era,” said Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure.

“Disruptive technologies are a fundamental driver of economic growth and job creation—and key to solving development challenges around the world. At IFC, we are proud to support the private sector in bringing these technologies to emerging markets, with innovations that range from portable ultrasound devices that can detect COVID-19 to medical tools that provide real-time cardiac diagnoses even in remote areas,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer at IFC.

We are thrilled to be continuing our work with the World Bank so the world’s best and brightest innovators at CES can collaborate with the World Bank Group to enter new markets, provide solutions and aid in development,” said Karen Chupka, EVP, CES, Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Owned and produced by CTA, CES 2021 will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world. CES 2021 will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world. For over 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation, and CES 2021 will provide an engaging platform for companies large and small to launch products, build brands and form partnerships.

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Absolute Digital Media On The New Digital Marketing Trends of 2021

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The year of 2020 is one that many of us are more than happy to leave behind for new beginnings, but with a new year also comes a new load of marketing trends. Out of these marketing trends, which of them will be best for your business? In this article, we will be providing you with insight into some of the new digital marketing trends for 2021.

Social Media Will Become More Important Than Ever

Social media has been used in marketing for several years now, but in 2021 it will be more important than ever before. With platforms such as Facebook implementing a market place for individuals and businesses to advertise and sell their items, this will be a new way for customers to not only to discover companies but also purchase items directly from their Facebook pages. This will become a new way for agencies such as Absolute Digital Media to use social media to increase their own visibility as well as their clients.

Virtual Events Are Here To Stay

Throughout the year of 2020, people all over the world were forced to stay inside for longer than ever before as the virus took a hold of our lives. However, this has led to several businesses adapting to still host major events without having their attendees to travel. This has meant that virtual events for marketing have become more popular than ever before. This has been a popular move for an online marketing agency as this has provided them with the platform, they need to show their expertise and show their branding.

Absolute Digital Media On Using Chatbots

In addition to virtual events, there has been a huge focus on automation as we head into 2021. One of the biggest trends when it comes to marketing is the use of a chatbot. With several industry experts such as Ben Austin CEO of Absolute Digital Media and several others singing the praises of chatbots when aiding the conversion funnels, this is a new way of aiding customers through the discovery stage of the conversion funnels and into purchasing a product from you whether through your own website or another retailer.

Personalised Marketing Is More Important Than Ever

Along with virtual events and atomisation, personalised marketing techniques are more important than ever before. With personalised marketing in the form of email marketing and personalised messages, you can personally help the customer on their journey and make the sales process significantly easier. Though this will take time to implement this can provide your sales team with the perfect opportunity and aid in closing deals in the long term. This will not only help to boost your business, but it will make sure that the conversion funnel is optimised fully.

As a business owner, you want to make sure you have the best for your business and these trends are on, hand to help you out. Which of these will you be implementing within your business throughout 2021?

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Deloitte Releases Tech Trends 2021

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The public sector has been thrust to the forefront of the societal and economic disruption caused by the pandemic, and technology leaders have had to accelerate digital transformation and reimagine how to enable their workforce and better serve Americans. Deloitte’s 12th Annual Tech Trends Report, released today, examines the trends and opportunities that will disrupt every industry to a varying degree in the next 12 – 18 months. The special government analysis reviews the trends through a public sector lens and provides examples of the trends in action with agencies applying them to advance their missions.

“Digital transformation projects that used to take years have been completed in a matter of months. Government tech leaders have demonstrated their own grit and resilience and that of their organizations through this disruption,” said Scott Buchholz, Emerging Technologies Research Director and Government and Public Services CTO, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “However, 2020 has clearly shown that organizations need to become nimbler in strategy and culture. Moreover, they need to be modernizing mission-critical systems while enhancing security and maintaining zero disruption operations.”

To read the Tech Trends 2021: A government perspective and how prepared government agencies are to navigate continued disruption, click here.

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