Home > Public Domain Data > Personal Geofences, Bluetooth and Covid-19

Personal Geofences, Bluetooth and Covid-19

Continuing on the themes highlighted by Joseph in his recent post COVID-19 and Privacy Concerns, Apple and Google have announced a joint plan to develop a phone tracking solution, as opposed to an application, that will use Bluetooth signals to identify people a phone’s owner had been in close enough proximity with to represent a potential risk of infection. Phones within a certain range would exchange an anonymous, encrypted code and if one of the phone owners subsequently tests positive for and declared themselves to be infected with the virus, their code would be shared with a central database. Other phones would download and scan the database for potential code matches. If a match is found, the phone’s owner is alerted.

Both companies have been quick to stress neither location data or any personal information would be captured and their focus will be on ‘privacy,  transparency and consent’. Although still subject to approval, the proposal has already had a fairly positive initial response from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on Twitter who indicated it met one of their main criteria by incorporating data protection by design.

With health services and governments in many countries facing urgent requirements to implement rigorous and effective tracking solutions, necessity is once again proving to be the mother of invention.

 

  1. April 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Google and Apple have both misled users about their level of data collection before. This will be no different.

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