We had over 160 participants on Zoom and around 240 live views on YouTube, for our first online round table event on Privacy in the era of COVID19. This is an area of concern for many in India and abroad, and we spent time discussing issues with the current privacy violations in the state of exception, and also what norms might be created for states of exception going forward. We intend to publish posts and a report on the discussion, and hope that these will help guide decisions that are taken by governments. We’re thankful to Internet Society, Google, Facebook and the Centre for Communications Governance at the National Law University, Delhi, for their support for this discussion.

For those of you who joined us, thanks for attending. We hope that you found value in the interactions.

You may watch the video here:

We had a stellar list of participants during the discussion, including Dr. Amar Patnaik, MP (Rajya Sabha), whose opening remarks about the ground realities of enforcement challenges set the stage for a vibrant discussion. Participants who spoke included Malavika Raghavan (Dvara Research), Malavika Jayaram (Digital Asia Hub), Shweta Reddy (CIS India), Smitha Krishna Prasad (CCG-NLU, Delhi), Sreenidhi Srinivasan (Ikigai Law), Vrinda Bhandari, Alok Prasanna Kumar (Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy), Dev Lewis, Divij Joshi (Mozilla fellow), Gautam Bhatia, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, Rahul Matthan (Trilegal) and Rahul Narayan.

Links from the discussion

  • Key points from MediaNama’s interview with Dr. Amar Patnaik [link]
  • China’s coronavirus surveillance: [link 1], [link 2], [link 3]
  • China’s health code: [link]
  • India’s integrated disease surveillance program [link]
  • A law proposed to replace the Epidemic Diseases Act, a few years ago [link]
  • HIV Act 2017, with provisions to protect patient privacy [link]
  • The case for judicial review and not suspension during times of crisis [link]
  • Central government notification to make Aarogya Setu mandatory for employees [link]
  • Changes in Aarogya Setu’s privacy policy [link]
  • Europe and norms for contact tracing [link]
  • Sean McDonald’s research on Ebola’s data disaster [link]
  • The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board in the US [link]
  • Privacy during COVID19 [link]
  • Australia’s legislation on safeguards [link]


In case you’d like to sponsor a discussion on a topic, please write to harneet@medianama.com. In case you wish to attend future #NAMA virtual discussions, please share your details at this link.