This online working group aims to provide relevant policy recommendations and highlight key issues in an age when the reach of technology – from search algorithms and social media to smart devices and geo-tracking – gives data owners unprecedented influence over citizens and as new legal paradigms are being created to address these evolutions. Leveraging big data sets and insights from decision science, governments and businesses can respond to, and sway, consumer behavior to a remarkable degree. Whether in healthcare, surveillance, or financial services, rewards and risks abound.

COVID-19 has made these questions especially relevant.  As the pandemic spreads, we are witnessing exponentially larger infection numbers and rising deaths from the virus. Our global economy has taken a massive hit and could lead to a global recession, with aftershocks for years to come.  Compounding the situation, the lack of testing kits and slow adoption of social distancing and self isolation has left us with little options for tracking and mitigating the impact of the disease. As such, many beleaguered governments are turning to technology for help, including our own. 

The U.S. government, technology companies, and academic researchers are exploring how citizens' geolocated data can help health officials and the government track and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  As the Coronavirus Task Force and civil society explore options, we wanted to create space to hear from experts around key technological, legal, and policy considerations. As part of this inaugural working group session, our goal is to provide relevant insights and policy recommendations to help ensure we get this right, both to save lives and preserve security. 


  • Dr. Margaret Bourdeaux, global health policy expert and current Research Director, the Security and Global Health Project at the Belfer Center
  • The Honorable Sue Gordon, former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center
  • Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at DHS and Senior Belfer Lecturer in International Security and frequent CNN contributor
  • Andrew McLaughlin, J.D., Former Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States, former VP of ICANN, and current President and COO of [NewCo]
  • Robby Mook, President, House Majority PAC, Co-Founder D3P, Adjunct Lecturer at HKS,  former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton
  • Kathy Pham, founding product and engineering member of the White House’s US Digital Service, founder The Ethical Tech Collective and current Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at HKS
  • Eric Rosenbach, former Pentagon Chief of Staff and current co-director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at HKS, Director, D3P and a Lecturer in Public Policy at HKS
  • Bruce Schneier, internationally renowned security technologist, author, and Adjunct Lecturer at HKS
  • Alex Stamos, Adjunct Professor at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, former CSO at Facebook and senior advisor to D3P at the Belfer Center
  • Jim Waldo, Chief Technology Officer of Harvard University and Computer Science Professor at HKS and SEAS
  • Dr. Marc Zissman, Associate Head of the Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School, Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Faculty Director at the Berkman Klein Center