Coronavirus Blog Team
Medium Coronavirus Blog
2 min readApr 17, 2020

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Privacy concerns with Google and Apple’s disease-surveillance tech:

Google and Apple have teamed up to track Covid-19’s spread through new software for “contact tracing,” a disease-surveillance strategy usually done via human interviews. The new Bluetooth-enabled tech uses smartphones to determine whether a person has recently been near someone else who’s tested positive for the disease. Privacy is an enormous concern: Though the system won’t track a person’s geographic location or identity, and the companies insist it will be an entirely opt-in service, private entities — like workplaces, schools, and communities — can still require that people participate.

But disease-surveillance tech might be our best option:

Countries like Singapore, the U.K., and Israel have tried making similar disease tracking apps, but their usefulness is limited. For a nation’s app to be effective, it must be downloaded by all citizens and used correctly, and even still, it won’t be useful for tracing cases that move across borders. However problematic, the app from Google and Apple, which can be built in directly to iOS and Android, may be the best option we’ve got.

Who will bear the consequences of widespread surveillance:

Normalizing large-scale surveillance during a pandemic may have consequences that last long after Covid-19 wanes, especially for minorities. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that traditionally marginalized groups — like low-income communities, people of color, and religious minorities — will continue to be watched after the pandemic ends in ways that expand the scope of surveillance far beyond only tracking a disease.

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Coronavirus Blog Team
Medium Coronavirus Blog

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