Author: Kristin B. Sandvik

Chronicling Smittestopp: Game on. Game over. Blame games.

April 16, 2020, the Norwegian COVID-19 tracking app Smittestopp was launched to great fanfare. The app was presented as crucial to the effort of saving lives and curbing infection rates. September 28 it was finally over, although the post-mortem dissection of the app has been unusually acrimonious for the Norwegian context. Smittestopp 1.0 will be replaced… Read more »

A Nobel for the WFP: A non-political Peace Prize for humanitarian multilateralism?

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the World Food Program for its “efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”. The announcement emphasizes the… Read more »

TikTok and the War on Data: Great Power Rivalry and Digital Body Counts

In 1971, the US declared a War on Drugs. In 2001, it began a still ongoing War on Terror. In 2020, the country has initiated a global War on Data to ‘combat’ the malicious collection of US citizens’ personal data. It is the first time that America is going to war for its population’s digital… Read more »

The COVID-19 Tracking Apps Ecosystem Unraveled: Critical Issues for Global Health

In March and April 2020, an ecosystem of tracing apps suddenly emerged, presenting digital solutions as indispensable for winning the battle against Covid-19. A few months later, the techno-optimism has subsided drastically, ranging from a perception that apps are problematic surveillance tools (Russia, Bahrain and Kuwait) or ineffective (Singapore, France and Iceland) to the more… Read more »

Children in Lockdown: Children’s Rights, Covid-19 and the Case of Norway

“The lost generation of the Covid-19 pandemic is not those at risk over 65, but our children and youth, particularly at present here in Larvik municipality. We communicate with children subjected to violence by siblings, threats, mothers who cry all day, children with mentally ill parents, parents with drug and substance abuse problems, parents in… Read more »

Norway’s Smittestopp (‘Infection Stop’) App as a Socio-Legal Problem

At the time of writing in early May 2020, Norwegians have in many ways escaped lightly from the first phase of the pandemic. The outbreak was contained at an early stage, the number of cases is low and there have been few deaths. In addition, Norway has money in the bank to secure basic welfare… Read more »

The COVID-19 Resettlement Freeze: Towards a Permanent Suspension?

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the suspension of international resettlement for refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), resettlement-related travel will resume as soon as prudence and logistics permit. Meanwhile, individuals and families that were set to go are in limbo for the foreseeable future. However, this… Read more »

Whose Needs? Reflections on Health Information and Minorities

On 1 April, the Norwegian News Agency (NTB) reported that rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection among Norwegian-Somalis were significantly higher than among other foreign-born inhabitants of Norway. Hospitals are reporting that 30–40 percent of patients who test positive for the virus are from immigrant backgrounds. The government has now granted NOK 6.6 million to boost efforts… Read more »