Consultancy on the tech- and data-driven measures deployed to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 and their impact on fundamental rights and freedoms

Time-Limited Contractual
Application Closing Date
29th April 2022 12:00 BST


Privacy International (PI) is a UK registered charity, established in 1990. We campaign against companies and governments who exploit our data and technologies. We expose harm and abuses, mobilise allies globally, campaign with the public for solutions, and pressure companies and governments to change.

PI has an ongoing project to take stock of developments that unfolded since a pandemic was announced in March 2020 and to critically reflect on tech solutionism and unreasonable data-intensive responses of government and industry. Our aim is to establish a framework to ascertain the appropriate and responsible uses of data and tech in management of health emergencies.

Purpose of the Consultancy

The aim of this research is to give us a greater understanding of the measures deployed during the Covid-19 pandemic across the world, and the impacts on fundamental rights and freedoms by documenting measures deployed, promised benefits, instances of harms, and any evaluations. This work will feed to inform PI's work across its current strategic plan and how to address the new and reinforced realities brought out by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated developments.

The purpose of the consultancy is to:

  1. Document policies, practices and examples of harms emerging from measures deployed by tech companies, governments, and international agencies across the world to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 with the aim of contributing to PI's Covid-19 tracker which we launched in March 2020 alongside our global Network.
  2. Develop a mapping and analysis of the main trends and issues associated with the measures deployed in both the short-term and how they have informed long-term shifts in policies and practices. The mapping is expected to explore, but is not limited to:
  • cross-cutting issues around the application and enforcement of existing regulatory and legal mechanisms and the broader governance context, public-private partnerships and the involvement of third parties, opportunity costs of decisions made, and the risks and harms to fundamental rights and freedoms including privacy but not limited to.
  • policy areas around the governance of data in public health crises, the use of emergency powers, the drive for digital solutions and promoting of techno-solutionism, and the normalisation of surveillance.
  • effective and proportionate health surveillance mechanisms that have positively contributed to combating this pandemic and may assist in future health emergencies.

Sources for this work will consist of:

  • Desk-based research to explore legislative and policy developments around the Covid-19 response in different jurisdictions, relevant reports of national oversight authorities, comparative analyses of pandemic impact of selected measures, regional and international human rights mechanisms as well as reports by civil society organisations, and in particular PI's Network partners, and national and international media reporting and investigative pieces, that provide an assessment of the relevant laws, policies and practices.
  • Input from PI's Network partners through the form of an online consultation for which the scope and modality will be agreed with PI in advance.

The consultant will be expected to explore diverse sources in terms of geographic scope and focus, and presenting a wide range of stakeholders. The schedule and scope for the documentation of harms and the mapping will be agreed between PI and the consultant prior to work starting.

The consultant will have international research experience. They will have a background on research, law/policy, or technology and have a demonstrable ability to collect, interpret, and summarise policy from a wide variety of resources.

  • The consultant shall ensure that only clearly lawful methods of research are used.
  • The consultant shall provide documentation and/or references to support analyses which can be verified by PI.
  • The consultant shall ensure that any information obtained from fee-based online databases is done so in line with the database’s terms of service.

Outputs, Timelines, and Remuneration

The consultant will be expected to document at least 5 identified trends, with at least 30 examples, from at least 15 countries across all continents over the course of the consultancy period, and to deliver one completed, comprehensive mapping to be delivered by 1 July 2022 as per a schedule of deliverables and workplan to be agreed between PI and the selected consultant. All the data and evidence mentioned in the briefings should be free to publicly use without constraints.

The consultancy is expected to last a maximum total of 30 days over the period May to mid-July 2022. Remuneration is £300 per day, and the total fee to be awarded shall not exceed £9,000.

Please send a copy of your CV, accompanied by brief cover statement and samples of prior relevant work to by 12:00 (noon) BST on 29 April 2022. We expect to make the selection of the consultant by 4 May 2022.

See how we handle your data