Countries consider use of mobile apps to track COVID-19 spread

The European Commission and the European Data Protection Board are jointly developing principles to leverage the use of mobile apps to track the spread of COVID-19 across the continent, while also addressing privacy concerns. The pan-European approach is expected to be able to trace those who encounter people who are infected and to monitor those under quarantine. According to Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova, mobile apps will be assessed to ensure they comply with security, privacy and data rules.

According to The Associated Press, similar considerations are underway in the U.S. “Public health agencies from Massachusetts to the city of San Francisco have hired a surge of people to run ‘contact tracing’ teams. Their mission is to identify anyone who has recently been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, then encourage those people to get tested and perhaps isolate themselves.” Also, Apple and Google are jointly developing technology for public health departments that could alert users if they were in close physical proximity to someone later found to be infected with the virus.