Jill Toh is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Information Law (IViR). Her work looks at the concept and power of online platforms through technology, law and political economy approaches, in order to explore new regulatory forms of governance. Her research is situated within the Digital Transformation of Decision-Making research initiative, led by prof. dr. N. Helberger, prof. dr. J.V.J. van Hoboken and prof. M.M.M. van Eechoud. Jill has a background in Media Studies (BA, First-class honours) from the University of Sussex and International Relations (MA, cum laude) from Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs. Previously, she spent some time at the Global Public Policy think-tank in Berlin, where she worked on policy issues surrounding AI governance, technology regulation and privacy, specifically on data-driven methods in political campaigning.
| Bouchè, G., Eskens, S., Helberger, N., Mil, J. van, Strycharz, J., Toh, J., van Hoboken, J.|
2021, (Report for ZonMw, written by N. Helberger, S. Eskens, J. Strycharz, G. Bouchè, J. van Hoboken, J. van Mil, J. Toh, with N. Appelman, J. van Apeldoorn, M. van Eechoud, N. van Doorn, M. Sax & C. de Vreese, September 2021, Amsterdam).
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Which legal, ethical and societal conditions need to be fulfilled for the use of digital solutions in managing the COVID-19 exit-strategy? This was the central question of this research. Digital technologies can be part of solutions to societal challenges, for example to manage the pandemic and lead the Netherlands out of the COVID-19 crisis. One set of technologies that figured particularly prominently in that debate was the use of contact tracing apps like the CoronaMelder, as well as digital vaccination passports (CoronaCheck app).
In the Netherlands, Europe and worldwide, the introduction of apps such as the CoronaMelder or the CoronaCheck app was met by criticism from experts, politicians, civil society and academics. Concerns range from the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of such apps, uncertainty about the conditions that need to be fulfilled to reach their goal, our growing dependency on technology companies up to worries about the fundamental rights and adverse effects for vulnerable groups, such as elderly or users without a smart phone.
The overall goal of the research was to monitor the societal, ethical and legal implications of implementing apps like the CoronaMelder, and from that draw lessons for the future use of ‘technology-assisted governance solutions’. One important conclusion from the report is that ‘there are no easy technological fixes, and in order for a technological solution to work, it needs to be part of a broader vision on what such a solution needs to function in society, achieve its intended goals and respect the fundamental rights of users as well as non-users.’ The report also offers critical reflections on the need for democratic legitimisation and accountability, the role of big tech and insights on the societal impact of the CoronaMelder and other technological solutions.
| Appelman, N., Fahy, R., Toh, J., van Hoboken, J.|
In: 2020, (Chapter in L. Taylor, G. Sharma, A. Martin, and S. Jameson (eds.), Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives, Meatspace Press, 2020)).
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The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through case studies from around the world, this book analyses the ways in which technologies of monitoring infections, information, and behaviour have been applied and justified during the emergency, what their side-effects have been, and what kinds of resistance they have met.