News Centre

29 Nov 2021

CUHK hosts webinar to discuss implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on geoprivacy in health research and policies

29 Nov 2021

High-profile speakers and panelists including scholars in the field of health geography from renowned institutions across the globe, as well as the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong, will discuss issues of geoprivacy and the COVID-19 pandemic at a webinar which will be co-hosted by the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science (ISEIS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the American Association of Geographers (AAG). Titled “Ethical Issues of Using Geospatial Data in Health Research or Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond”, the webinar will be held on 2 December 2021. Members of the public are welcome to join.

Advances in geospatial technologies and the availability of geospatial big data have enabled researchers to analyse and uncover the complex patterns of social phenomena in great detail. These methods have been utilised more frequently by public health academics and government agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as to map human mobility and contact tracing patterns. However, using individual-level confidential geospatial data such as locations of people’s residences and activities involves certain risks of disclosure and privacy violation.

In view of the recent concerns for geoprivacy in health research and policies, the ISEIS of CUHK and the AAG have invited a number of renowned experts from the Mainland, Hong Kong and the US, including scholars from Harvard University and Sun Yat-sen University, to discuss and share insights on the topic in the webinar. Ms. Ada Chung Lai-ling, Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong, will also be one of the panelists.

A wide range of topics and questions will be covered during the webinar, including the geoprivacy concerns for different COVID-19 control measures, legal issues arising when using individual-level confidential geospatial data for disease control, the balance between the need for disease control and individual geoprivacy protection, and protections of people’s geoprivacy in health research. The webinar will be chaired by Professor Mei-Po Kwan, Director of the ISEIS, CUHK. 

For details and registration for the webinar, please refer to the following website: 

About Professor Mei-Po Kwan

Professor Kwan is the Director of the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science and Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management at CUHK. Her research focuses on environmental issues, human mobility, transportation and health in cities as well as geographic information science.

Professor Kwan is a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Social Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Royal Geographical Society and the American Association of Geographers. She has received the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Research Award, as well as numerous outstanding academic achievement awards by the American Association of Geographers, including the Distinguished Scholarship Honours, the Wilbanks Prize for Transformational Research in Geography and the Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography. Professor Kwan was also named a highly-cited researcher in 2019 and 2021, demonstrating significant and broad influence in the field of social science with multiple highly cited papers ranked in the top 1% by citations during the last decade.