Technology is proving key to speeding our return to everyday life.
In late March, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with state and local governments to facilitate a geolocation initiative to analyze coronavirus spread and compliance measures as many states wait for proper COVID-19 testing kits. Aimed at identifying high-traffic territories and efficacy of stay-at-home measures against the spread of coronavirus, the data from this initiative will help public health officials understand how people are adjusting to enforced measures, what areas are prone to crowds, and which locations are most frequented by residents.
As noted in the piece published by Forbes linked below, there are currently 3.8 billion smartphones in use across the world, which could potentially allow government and health officials to effectively leverage technology to slow the spread of coronavirus. In mid-April, tech giants Apple and Google joined the effort, with their combined service reaching more than three billion users. Since consent for data collection and Bluetooth enablement must first be provided by each user, and user personal information is not disclosed if they decide to participate, this effort provides an accelerated solution to containing the disease while still protecting privacy concerns.
The action taken by Apple and Google has sparked passionate dialogue surrounding public health safety and user privacy and the complexity that comes as a result of those two issues overlapping.
John Verdi, Vice President of Policy for the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), the organization tasked with helping manage the development of apps for COVID-19, notes:
“The first thing to consider is how to best use clinical and non-clinical data that is already being collected but not analyzed; the second is to come up with ways to trace contacts regarding public health with common sense privacy safeguards and oversight.”
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Tags: Health Informatics