Recently Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced a partnership through which they will help third parties in creating apps that could help alert people when they come into contact with someone that has tested positive of coronavirus.
Apps to be developed for COVID-19 contact tracking
The company’s mobile OS that is iOS and Android power over 99% of all smartphones globally. As a result this makes their involvement in contact tracking for COVID-19 more significant relative to any government efforts. When the companies demonstrated how it will work it seemed effortless but some concerns could derail the plans.
Although companies gave assurance about privacy and that users will have to opt-in for the apps to collect information that seems far from being true. They indicated that they will anonymize the information and ensure it is secure. According to senior representatives from the companies, the main impediment is getting people to trust them and use the service. They said that contact tracing needs a lot of participation and getting people to use the apps will be hard. This was admittance from the officials that trust was a major concern that could hamper the development of a possible solution.
Concern about using tech for contact tracing
Public health and authorities indicate that contact tracing is one of the best ways of combating the spread of COVID-19 but it needs the participation of at least 60% for it to be effective. The US lead infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci indicated last week that to combat the spread of the pandemic requires community surveillance which is important in understanding COVID-19 and its spread.
Although the use of technology has been touted by some including President Trump as a weapon against the fight of COVID-19 some hold a different opinion. Around 300 scholars across the globe have raised concerns about the use of tech arguing that such a mission could result in unprecedented surveillance. People are concerned that Google which has had privacy-related issues in the past is spearheading such a technology.