Large-scale collection of data could help curb the COVID-19 pandemic, but it should not neglect privacy and public trust. Best practices should be identified to maintain responsible data-collection and data-processing standards at a global scale.

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak a public-health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Six weeks later, the outbreak was categorized as a pandemic. COVID-19 has already caused 24 times more cases (as of 18 March 2020) than the previous coronavirus-induced PHEIC—the 2002–2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak—and the COVID-19 numbers are expected to grow.

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