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Covid-19: Policy Briefings

April 7, 2020

In this global health crisis, the web is both a lifeline and a critical force in helping to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Without public health information at our fingertips, many would be dangerously under-informed about the scale and severity of the situation. Without the option to work and learn from home, our economies would take a still greater hit and children’s education would suffer even more. And without the ability to connect virtually as we’re being asked to keep a distance from others, the virus would spread faster and further.

But the web could do so much more if we could overcome three obstacles:

Misinformation: Conspiracy theories and misleading claims get in the way of official advice, undermine our response to the virus and can cost lives. Our recommendations (PDF) call for governments, companies and citizens to tackle this threat while safeguarding free expression and other human rights.

Internet access: Almost half the world’s population doesn’t have internet access.  To be without connectivity in normal times is a grave disadvantage. In the crisis we’re facing, it’s devastating. Our recommendations (PDF) are designed to get meaningful connectivity to as many people as quickly as possible — without losing sight of the longer term goal to reach universal internet access.

Data to protect public health: To slow down the spread of Covid-19, governments need access to accurate, timely data. Our policy brief (PDF) argues that using data in smart and innovative ways to tackle this pandemic doesn’t have to mean putting a pause on human rights or lowering the bar for privacy.

Read a post from our President & CEO Adrian Lovett about how the web can do more in the fight against Covid-19.