TitlePerceived Fairness Concerns Within Pandemic Response Technology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsRyan S, Nurgalieva L, Doherty G
JournalInteracting with Computers
Date Published12

The response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has involved the creation of complex, novel public health technologies deployed at an unprecedented scale. One such technology intervention is the deployment of digital COVID certificates, applications that confirm a person’s COVID-19 immunity status via vaccination, negative tests or having contracted the disease. These certificates have formed part of governmental strategies to manage the resumption of travel and social activities. The potential impact of these technologies on daily life has led to perceived concerns regarding the fairness of the restrictions associated with these systems. These fairness concerns are intuitively understood by users, and challenges exist in conceptualizing them in a manner that is addressable with the tools available to application and system designers. In order to improve our understanding of the fairness concerns of users and how we might conceptualize them, we analysed 27 semi-structured interviews with Irish participants regarding the use of digital immunity certificates. Our results suggest that the user perceptions of the fairness of such solutions are primarily thought about at the group level, with the concerns of Anti-discrimination and Egalitarianism being the most frequently discussed. Based on our analysis, we further identify societal and technical accessibility as important factors when attempting to address these fairness concerns.