To read this content please select one of the options below:

Pushing the limits of accountability: big data analytics containing and controlling COVID-19 in South Korea

Paul D. Ahn (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Danture Wickramasinghe (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 19 February 2021

Issue publication date: 23 July 2021

1981

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how big data analytics pushed the limits of individuals' accountability as South Korea tried to control and contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw upon Deleuzo-Guattarian framework elaborating how a surveillant assemblage was rhizomatically created and operated to monitor a segment of the population holding them accountable. Publicly available secondary data, such as press release from the government and media coverage, were used.

Findings

A COVID-19 Smart Management System and a Self-Quarantine Safety Protection App constituted a surveillance assemblage operating in a “state-form”. This comprises the central government departments, local councils, policing systems, providers of telecommunication and financial services, and independent groups of people. This assemblage pushed the limits of accountability as individuals who tested positive or might bear possible future risks of the infection and transmission were held accountable for their locations and health conditions.

Practical implications

Policymakers may consider constructing this type of state-form for containing and controlling pandemics, such as COVID-19, while dealing with the issue of undermined privacy.

Social implications

The mass may consider to what extent individuals' personal information should be protected and how to hold the governments accountable for the legitimate use of such information.

Originality/value

While accountability studies have largely focussed on formal organisations, the authors illustrated how a broader context of a state-form, harnessing big data analytics, pushes the limits of accountability.

Keywords

Citation

Ahn, P.D. and Wickramasinghe, D. (2021), "Pushing the limits of accountability: big data analytics containing and controlling COVID-19 in South Korea", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 1320-1331. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2020-4829

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles