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The world is waiting to see how sharply the numbers of COVID-19 cases spike as societies try to return to some semblance of normal activity. There has been much debate on the best way to fight back against the virus. Two words are instrumental: contact tracing.
Technology can and will play a significant role, as tech firms develop apps and contact tracing systems via citizens’ smartphones. The big question is whether these tools can overcome a mountain of privacy concerns and issues, since their main function is to track a person’s whereabouts and relay that information in many cases to a central database. The key word here will be trust. And at this early point in contact tracing for COVID-19, there appears to be little of it.
Companies and government organizations asking for personal information must build trust from the very beginning. High rates of consent require clear information to users about exactly what data citizens will share and how this data will be used and protected. Citizens have to weigh data transparency issues against mitigating a health crisis, so businesses and organizations â€” no matter their focus â€” must work harder to re-establish trust and safeguard their users’ information. Because ultimately, it’s up to those users whether contact tracing apps succeed in the long term.
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