By Xavier Harding | April 29, 2020 | Advocacy
Coronavirus caught the world off-guard. Each country is dealing with the highly-contagious virus in its own way, with varying levels of success. One method medical professionals employ to limit the spread of covid-19 is contact tracing, or finding out who a coronavirus patient has recently come in contact with. If they can tell those people to stay at home, it could limit the spread of the virus.
Tech companies are crafting their own ways of getting ahead of the virus. In the U.S., for example, Apple and Google are teaming up to create a way to contact trace digitally, using Bluetooth to determine who users come into contact with. In the E.U., eight mobile phone carriers are providing the European Commission with customers’ location data. Meanwhile, cities in China are assigning its residents a health score and tracking their movements while also using government cameras pointed at apartment doors to surveil those under quarantine. By some counts, at least 30 countries are ramping up tracking efforts to better flatten the curve.
Tracking smartphone users? What could possibly go wrong?
The analog version of contact tracing (simply telling your doctor who you’ve been nearby recently) has a proven track record. Its digital equivalent is polarizing. With no end date, this sort of tracking could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Though will we look back on the coronavirus pandemic and regret not making use of every tool at our disposal?
Check out the entire contact tracing round-table above. See the full transcript of the talk here.