European Tech Groups Seek Privacy Controls on COVID-19 Contact-tracing Tools
People are fearful of smartphone-based contact-tracing systems
A sudden technology need is running directly into the politics of personal privacy—especially in Europe, where the General Data Protection Regulation has been in effect since 2018.
And that’s making the road difficult for companies trying to build contact-tracing apps to assist human contact tracers in limiting the spread of COVID-19. In the U.S., Apple and Google are developing apps that would use smartphone Bluetooth functionality to detect when a person’s phone is close to someone who’s tested positive for the disease. A recent Washington Post survey found that roughly half of respondents would not use such an app.
How do you ensure a balance between privacy and public safety? A pair of European tech groups are working on that.
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