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Post Pandemic Plausible Directions – Prioritizing safety over privacy

By Marty Resnick | July 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

plausible directionsContinuous ForesightTrendspotting

We recently published a report that was a cross Research and Advisory initiative at Gartner. Analysts from many different industries, coverage areas, and teams participated in this list, that to be fair was published in early May. So it does not take into account some recent events and disruptions.

I wanted to spend the next several days sharing each one and would appreciate any feedback. The entire report  is  available Top 10 Plausible Directions Resulting from COVID-19

A webinar on this topic could also be found here.

Keep in mind, COVID-19 will have short- and long-term implications for all organizations. There are many opposing trends and parallel scenarios. These posts will explore each one.

The next plausible direction is Prioritizing safety over privacy.


An assumed dichotomy between safety and privacy leads to prioritization of safety concerns and implementation of measures without regard for privacy protection. Measures to track and trace individuals, once implemented as a temporary reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, will remain in place post-pandemic and continue to be reused for other purposes, including potential other infectious diseases, and become part of the ‘new normal’. Connection of infection assessment, location/spread, and proximity measuring applications to a system of citizen or consumer rating will be expanded as will the connected use cases. Interconnectivity of proximity, behavior, character attributes and such will find its way into control over physical movement based on digital identity representation, furthering the convergence between the physical and the digital. Use cases will scope creep into control over financial means, access to stores, supermarkets, and public facilities like (public) transport, et cetera. These effects are more likely in jurisdictions with a propensity for strong government control over individual citizens and expand into commercial realms beyond the government-citizen relation


  • Increasing acceptance of privacy-bypassing innovations
  • Enforcement of privacy law reducing/absent
  • Temporary or reactive measures are proposed without a threshold for removal

Short-Term Impacts

  • Increased pressure on the fast release of innovations
  • Reduced cost and resource needs in ad hoc developments
  • Shifted design-thinking and project priority

Long-Term Impacts

  • New-normal with the permanent presence of initially temporary technology
  • Less accountability and transparency on personal data processing
  • Reduced consumer protection

Recommended Response

  • Maintain customer trust by applying digital ethics to balance data processed
  • Be innovative with safety-enhancing solutions
  • Standardize your data protection policies across the organization, but be flexible.

Just a reminder –

The entire report  is  available Top 10 Plausible Directions Resulting from COVID-19

A webinar on this topic could also be found here.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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