COVID-19 and Health Code: How Digital Platforms Tackle the Pandemic in China.
As COVID-19 is rapidly spreading around the world, some countries have launched or plan to implement contact-tracing apps to detect exposure risks. In China, the government relies on Health Code, developed by Alipay and WeChat, for identifying people potentially exposed to COVID-19. The color-based code can determine people's exposure risks and freedom of movement based on factors like travel history, duration of time spent in risky areas, and relationships to potential carriers. This essay discusses the rise of Health Code from a platform perspective, arguing that digital platforms are key players conducting health surveillance and mediating state-citizen relations in China. More importantly, tracing apps might become a normal practice in many countries, suggesting that platforms will be substantially adopted for health surveillance.
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