South Korea’s response to COVID-19 relied extensively on digital technology. The government adopted digital surveillance and tracing measures instead of implementing physical lockdowns. The Korea case shows how digital technology can be utilized to enhance public safety but also potentially risks privacy, data security and social equity. These dilemmas over the extensive digital measures are concerned with the fundamental question of the governance of digital technologies. New technologies utilized for COVID-19 policies have great potential to support individuals’ rights, especially right to health. However, technologies are initially not designed to serve human rights purposes but for containment of virus, we need to be conscious of the way in which these new technologies pose significant challenges to human rights. The problem is that most international human rights instruments were initially drafted for the offline world and may not reflect the realities of the digital age. Therefore, it is critical to understand the human rights implications for each stage of the key health and quarantine measures. It is essential even at the early stages of a development of technology, to consider human rights impacts, including economic, social, and cultural rights and the rights of minority groups.
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