How COVID Made Us Forget About Snowden?

How Covid Made Us Forget About Snowden.

In 2013, the disclosure made by Edward Snowden caused the world to shudder. It shed light on something nobody seemed to want to admit: we are being watched. It was not relevant by whom, how, or for what purpose, but anyone with an online presence is affected by it: mass surveillance.

How did the world react?

Initially, it was violent. During late 2014, 47% of surveyed Americans altered their online behaviour, particularly on Social Media Platforms. Online markets suffered a drop of 14% in customers who shop online.

In the streets of American cities, the American people organised protests and rallies. One of which was organised by the Stop Watching us protest movement and dubbed “the largest rally yet to protest mass surveillance” in Washington, DC.

Research conducted by Pew Research Center discovered that 49% of respondents leaned more towards not trusting the government to protect their data after being exposed to be allegedly collecting and handling private individual information. Eventually, the consumer backlash died down.

By 2015, only 12% of surveyed Americans who were at least somewhat aware of the Snowden leaks reported having changed their behaviour in online and cell phone activities. People went back to living their everyday lives, shopping online, and subscribing to monthly tips on how to improve your garden. At this point, the average individual was both aware and indifferent or even agreeable to the government having access to data that companies collect about personal activity online.

As time passed, technology had been advancing at an ever-increasing rate. With this, the number of virtual interfaces replacing brick and mortar engagements has too. With the growing reliance on technology to serve customer needs, there has been a race to establish policies to regulate how consumer information is collected, stored, and shared.

Among these, health tracking apps and online healthcare tools needed to frequently update their industry-standard privacy statements, emphasising how user data privacy is guaranteed.

But innovation does have its benefits. In a 2009 National Community Pharmacists Association study (link will open a PDF), surveyed patients who failed to take their prescribed medication were asked why they had not taken it.

The top reasons were: 42% forgot about them, 34% their prescription had run out, and 27% to being away from the house.

Today, the stated causes can now be addressed by automated healthcare management tools and healthcare virtual assistants, which significantly helps those who do not have access to personal nurses or caregivers.

In the present day, consumers have adopted digital healthcare technology such as virtual consultations and online health assessment programs. Ordering prescriptions online has also become a method of choice used by patients, especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Virtual consultations with a doctor are now the norm and are often the initial primary care consultation method. In a group of individuals with chronic illnesses and comorbidities, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions highlighted that 88% of patients were likely to continue using virtual consultation channels for their medical needs moving forward.

As concern for health and wellness grows during the pandemic, surveyed consumers in Deloitte’s research have been more willing to share their health data to provide optimal patient care (from 53% of consumers to 60%), as well as to support the improvement of the tools being used (from 32% to 40%). Patients are asked to share their medical details with companies, researchers, scientists, emergency personnel, and health workers, among other scenarios. The medical market is also seeing an increase in patients and individuals taking more initiative regarding their health management.

These include adapting various apps and programs on their computers and mobile devices to track their daily habits, measure bodily activity, and even diagnose conditions themselves from the comfort of their homes. The same trend can be seen in the community of chronic disease patients surveyed by Deloitte who are similarly seeing several benefits from the rise of this technology, helping them manage their current conditions, and alerting them about possible future risks brought by the illnesses.

So where are we headed?

Most experts would push the argument that we really cannot speculate on what the future holds in terms of technological advancements and innovations.

However, we can confidently say that the average human being is most likely going to be amenable to cooperating with its development.

We know that chaos breeds evolution, and more and more people are consciously turning to technologically driven health management systems.

Whether optimising physical performance or checking diabetic blood sugar levels, it is an undisputed fact that technology will be a permanent instalment in patients and healthcare providers’ lives on a global scale.

Upon all this advancement, what measures should we hold ourselves accountable for in terms of privacy and security?

While you should watch who and where you send personal data to, the modern citizen must also be wary of identity theft, scams, and phishing schemes that skim customer information and data from individuals through trojan horse email links and the like.

And although it can be arduous, you should

(a) thoroughly read through privacy statements,

(b) verify the merchants you purchase from, and most importantly,

(c) make sure you are speaking to true medical professionals with license numbers to back their claims.

As advancements in technology are racing towards the future, tech consumers can continue to experience difficulties with automatically synced data and common errors encountered using apps or programs, which is to be expected as the systems are in their early development phases. Innovation is undoubtedly a goal commonly strived for among humanity. As time has proven, slow, and cautious will always be the way to go.

Tento Applied Sciences is a digital multi-stakeholder information reporting system that provides compliance, security, and certainty for sharing healthcare data. Our ethos and vision are to use digital transformation to improve patient experience and healthcare outcomes among consumers today.

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