April 15, 2020
Could Your Smart Phone Help in the Fight Against the COVID-19 Pandemic?
In an effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers are debating how governments can use personal information, such as location and heath data, to track contacts diagnosed with COVID-19, identify potential hot spots, or enforce social distancing or quarantine requirements. Data can facilitate a more targeted policy response to the crisis, but governments’ monitoring of this data could devolve into intrusive surveillance if not done carefully, writes AAF’s Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jennifer Huddleston.
Data can help policymakers craft a more targeted response to the current pandemic and could lead to a tailored policy that allows a faster reopening where safe, benefiting many individuals and businesses. Current technologies may enable a voluntary response through data opt-ins that would better inform public health officials and communities in making decisions and responding to the pandemic. Still, it is of the utmost importance that policymakers considering using personal information, even in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, establish clear guardrails on its use and collection to prevent surveillance or other abuses.