UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Digital dilemmas in the (post-)pandemic state : Surveillance and information rights in South Korea Yoon, Kyong, 1974-

Abstract

Drawing on South Korea’s response to COVID-19, this article examines how the digital measures that were implemented by the nation state during the pandemic intensified the dilemma between public safety and information rights. South Korea’s highly praised handling of COVID-19 raises the question of how far digital technology can infiltrate everyday life for the sake of public safety and how citizens can negotiate the rapid digital transformation of a nation state. The South Korean government’s digital measures during the pandemic involved the extensive use of personal data; however, citizens were not allowed sufficient participation in the flow of information. By critically examining the South Korean case, this article reveals that the government coped with the pandemic through digital surveillance as a way to avoid physical lockdown, and in so doing, projected its desire for transition to a digitally advanced state while facilitating nationalism through a digital utopian discourse.

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Attribution 4.0 International