News & Publications

Alaap Shah Quoted in “Details on Coronavirus Cases Are Often Scant as Health Officials Point to Privacy Laws”

South Bend Tribune

Alaap B. Shah, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in the South Bend Tribune, in “Details on Coronavirus Cases Are Often Scant as Health Officials Point to Privacy Laws,” by Christian Sheckler.

Following is an excerpt:

Singapore’s strategy pays off

Beyond the U.S., some governments have managed to curb the COVID-19 outbreak using strategies that included much more aggressive data collection and sharing.

In Singapore, for example, the government has provided a wealth of information about each coronavirus case, including patients’ employers and their recent activities, such as checking into a certain hotel.

Singapore identifies patients by number and links together clusters tied to specific schools, gyms, workplaces, church services and even private dinners.

The release of such specific information has been credited with helping the country better control the spread of the virus.

But some of the tactics used to collect that information, such as accessing people’s phones, would likely face more opposition in a western democracy, said Alaap Shah, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., focusing on health privacy.

“There are freedoms being taken away from people in those places that, culturally, we in the United States probably would not be OK with,” he said.