As the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the globe, experts used models to project future developments and to advise on effective policy choices to control the spread of disease. Here, Masaru Yarime discusses the role personal data plays in tracking and modeling Covid-19 projections in Asian countries, the regulations regarding data collection in different Asian countries, and the restrictions on sharing data across national borders. Though Yarime focuses on Asia, his examination of modeling processes and the clash between the need for vast volumes of data and the legitimate privacy expectations of individuals are not just an Asian concern but are broadly relevant.
Masaru Yarime is an associate professor at the Division of Public Policy of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He also has an appointment as visiting associate professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy of the University of Tokyo. He was awarded an Abe Fellowship in 2014. His research interests center around science, technology, and innovation policy for energy, environment, and sustainability, particularly policy implications of data-driven innovation such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and smart cities. He serves on the editorial board of international academic journals, including Sustainability Science, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, and Frontiers in Sustainable Cities – Governance and Cities. He received BE in chemical engineering from the University of Tokyo, MS in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and PhD in economics and policy studies of innovation and technological change from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. His previous appointments include senior research fellow at the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, visiting scholar at the Japan International Cooperation Agency Research Institute, and honorary associate professor at the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy of University College London.