A number of countries, including South Korea, Italy, and Israel, have begun using digital tools to track the movement of people who are infected, identify those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, and measure the extent to which citizens are complying with stay-at-home orders. While the verdict is still out on whether these tools will ultimately prove effective at containing the spread of the virus during this first wave of the pandemic, the potential to automatically track the spread of the disease may be useful in the future. As researchers grapple with the practicality of these efforts, those in the policy arena must consider under what conditions, if any, government should be allowed access to such tools. Is greater location tracking necessary to protect public health in an era of global pandemics, or is it intrusive government surveillance? Can tools be developed that minimize privacy risks?
ITIF hosted a video webinar where panelists offered different perspectives about how policymakers should strike the right balance on privacy, both during and after a pandemic. Read the transcript of the event.