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Effect of the Pandemic on Democracy

Image of Is COVID-19 a Threat to Liberal Democracy?

by Pietro Sirena, Oreste Pollicino, Francesco Paolo Patti, Marco Bassini, Giovanni De Gregorio 

A group of scholars and researchers of the Law School of Bocconi University has recently joined a research team appointed by Fondazione Leonardo – Civiltà delle Macchine in conjunction with Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli and the Italian Data Protection Authority for a multidisciplinary study on the effects of the pandemic on democracy.
Oreste Pollicino, Marco Bassini and Giovanni De Gregorio, constitutional law scholars with a specific expertise on IT law, new technologies and fundamental rights, will investigate the shifting paradigm of human rights in the age of emergency, delving into the field of the so-called “digital rights”. Their research will have a twofold aim: on one hand, they will explore the re-shaping of certain fundamental rights, most notably the right to privacy in the context of the emergency. The implementation of contact tracing technologies has triggered a huge debated on the need to set a new compromise between the right to privacy and the protection of public health. On the other hand, they will also focus on whether the emergency has paved the way to a new consideration for the use of the Internet as essential utility for the continuity of economic and social activities, and does therefore amount to a fundamental right per se.
Pietro Sirena and Francesco Paolo Patti, from a civil law perspective, will focus on the private relationships in the age of pandemic, investigating how the emergency has affected contracts and other legal inter-private situations.