Covid-19 contact-tracing apps are less trusted by those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds

People who are mistrusting, socially disadvantaged, or have less digital access, are generally more negative towards the idea of using digital contact tracing apps to control COVID-19.
Mobile phone. Photo: Aleksi Poutanen

This research, a review article regarding the public acceptance of COVID-19 contact tracing apps, conducted by Yanqing Lin from Aalto University School of Business and co-authors My Villius Zetterholm and Päivi Jokela from Linnaeus University, Sweden, found that public acceptance of digital contact tracing applications varied across national cultures and sociodemographic classes.

They found that it was often less accepted among individuals with lower income, lower education levels, and those with a lower level of trust in authorities.

Furthermore, privacy concerns and fear of surveillance are common barriers to acceptance. Some people do not believe their data will be kept safe or only used for infection control.

Those with greater access to technology and higher education and income are often more accepting of digital contact tracing apps, but trust is generally the most important thing, the research confirms.

Another critical finding involves the misconceptions surrounding these technologies and their role in contact tracing. For example, some people believe that it will protect them by providing immediate warnings when they are near someone who is infected.

The researchers say misconceptions like these are serious and are in need of further investigations, since they might lead to a false sense of safety or unnecessary risk-taking.

They add that we have to make sure that users understand these technologies so that they use them in a safe way.

'A better understanding of human-centered perspectives is critical for this type of emergent technology to be designed and used in an ethical, fair, and effective way', the researchers conclude.

This research was published in the special issue “Managing the Consequences of COVID-19 in the Every-Day Working, Learning, and Interacting Life” of the journal Informatics.

25 studies from four continents across the globe were compiled, and critical topics were identified and discussed.

For example Psychreg has published a news piece on this study:

  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!

Read more news

Janne Naapuri
Awards and Recognition, Research & Art Published:

Janne Naapuri, PhD, received the Gustaf Komppa Dissertation Prize

Gust. Kompa Dissertation Prize 2023 of the Finnish Chemical Society was awarded to Janne Naapuri, PhD, from Aalto University and Jussi Isokuortti, PhD, from Tampere University of Technology.
Designs for a Cooler Planet 2024 Open call
Research & Art, University Published:

Apply for Designs for a Cooler Planet festival by 22 January 2024

Tell us how your research or project will change the world.
Professori Ville Alopaeus.
Research & Art Published:

Get to know us: Ville Alopaeus

Ville Alopaeus has worked as a professor at Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering since 2008. Researching separation processes and process modelling, Alopaeus aims to contribute to the transition towards a renewable energy and materials environment.
talvinen kuva Otarannasta kaisloineen
Research & Art, Studies Published:

Yearly follow-up of doctoral students open until 10.1.2024

What is the status of your doctoral studies and research? Answer the survey for un update.