Governments are looking to relax quarantine restrictions. They are now turning to new surveillance methods to track people infected.
The goal is to identify those with whom they have been in contact.
In addition, governments in China, Singapore, Israel and South Korea are using such data. They are crediting it with helping slow the spread of the virus. U.S. and European nations are now considering using apps and cellphone data.
“I think that everything is gravitating towards proximity tracking,” said Chris Boos. He is a member of Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing.
“If somebody gets sick, we know who could be infected, and instead of quarantining millions, we’re quarantining 10.”
Proximity Tracing is a project to create a shared system that could take uploads from apps in different countries.
According to reports, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an app to track COVID-19 patients. Also, the people they interact with.
The federal government is currently working with the CDC to compile phone geolocation data. This helps authorities predict where outbreaks could occur and where resources are needed.
However, the effort faces many privacy concerns.
Still, some European countries are going further, creating programs to help track individuals but with their permission.