Privacy and the Greater Good: Unexpected Revelations From a Pandemic

These alarming early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic’s rapid expansion into the United States have made clearly evident that frontline doctors, researchers, and healthcare workers are desperate for a better way to communicate vital information in real time with their peers. And they need to be able to do so securely, and often anonymously. Consequently, they are openly seeking help from the tech community via social media.

In the absence of a better solution, the scientific community are using Facebook to share timely and vital information with their peers in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States and elsewhere. But as evidenced on Twitter and other social networks, this is proving problematic and stifling.

We at Neone are therefore offering the scientific community complimentary access to our private, encrypted sharing platform as a solution to this problem. The technology exists to circumnavigate these impediments easily and the Neone platform represents a potentially ideal solution: private, secure communication with professional peers across a global network, with rock-solid protocols regarding ownership, control, dissemination, and security of proprietary information and data in place.

This week there were multiple shared posts by frontline medical professionals — ER doctors, researchers, and others — on social media seeking help from the tech community and describing multiple reports of valid coronavirus research posted by scientists being removed by Facebook. This represents a critical and unnecessary loss of potentially lifesaving info. Not only do these dedicated professionals deserve better, so does the public they strive to serve.

The inherent purpose of social networks, like that of the internet itself, is to connect people and allow them to share information. However, this creates the consequence whereby the companies that own and operate these platforms become de-facto arbiters of what may be shared via their platforms. And Facebook in particular have proven themselves to be very poor such arbiters, at least when it comes to sharing, controlling, and preventing the spread of misinformation and disinformation. Now it appears they also fail critically with regard to the sharing of legitimate information that is potentially vital to public health. This is not how it should be, nor how it has to be.

Neone has the solution and we look forward to helping and contributing to the greater good. We are all in this together.