Video: How Congress Can Protect Privacy During a Pandemic

This is the second webinar of our latest series, where we cover protecting privacy during the pandemic.

In the scramble to combat COVID-19, a number of worrying initiatives have been proposed, both here and abroad, to fight this virus. This has included geotracking individuals to see if they are complying with social distancing, directing individuals to screening tools that don’t have to comply with health privacy laws, and publishing the identities of those who have been infected. While personal data collection and analysis may be necessary to fight the virus, it’s important to be conscious of the potential harms that could arise from those uses.

In this discussion, we cover the specific legislative action Congress could take that would materially protect Americans’ privacy during this crisis. Panelists discuss how Congress could close the HIPAA privacy loophole, extend protections to geolocation data held by tech companies, and incorporate privacy lessons learned from other countries.


Gennie Gebhart, Associate Director of Research at Electronic Frontier Foundation

Stacey Gray, Senior Counsel at Future Privacy Forum

Gaurav Laroia, Senior Policy Counsel at Free Press

Eric Null, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now

Sara Collins, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge (Moderator)