Lecture with Kevin Hall on “Underwhelming, Overwhelming, Useful? An ethnographic approach to digital contact tracing via smartphone apps”

Join us this Friday, June 11th, from 9:00-10:00 am UTC+2 (https://tinyurl.com/fekrbze5) to hear Kevin Hall’s presentation on “Underwhelming, Overwhelming, Useful? An ethnographic approach to digital contact tracing via smartphone apps”.

Starting during the Ebola outbreak in West-Africa epidemiologists and the public alike have associated digital methods for contact tracing with hopes for rapid containment of infection chains. Following the model of China and South Korea, Germany had high expectations for its contact tracing app “Corona-Warn-App”. The app was designed according to high data protection standards – decentralised, anonymity and data economy. However, so far its impact on contact tracing has been described by the media and public health authorities alike as underwhelming. Nearly one year after the beginning of the pandemic a new app promises to solve the problem of contact tracing. The so called Luca-App might be described as the exact opposite to the “Corona-Warn-App” regarding its design principles: central data storage, no data economy and minimal informational self-determination. Both apps were designed without consulting public health offices. Interestingly, a third app, the former “Cluster-Diary-App” (now: “Daicy”) addressed precisely this issue to reflect the procedures and processes of contact tracing within the public health office in the app. The app is designed in close collaboration between one public health office and a software firm applying agile project management principles. As a result the app mimics the coronavirus in that it constantly evolves and adapts to legal, social and viral conditions.
Drawing on interviews with 17 public health offices as well as more than three months of ethnographic research as contact tracer in one public health office I followed the data of these apps along the local procedures of contact tracing asking “what are the data?”, “what do they do?” and most importantly “what problematizations of contact tracing do they address?”

All lectures will be live on ZOOM
ID: 998 8663 5576
PW: raum4?

You will find additional resources and information on this term’s guiding theme Data: What are they? What do they do? on our website at https://rustlab.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/join-the-rustlab-lectures-this-summer-2021/.