How the government uses location data to track COVID-19

According to the Wall Street JournalIn the fight against COVID-19, the U.S. used the same generated by mobile phones and used by advertisers to send you ads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] is analyzing from smartphones and sending it to federal, local, and state governments. People familiar with the say the information shows where people are hanging out in certain areas. The is provided by the advertising industry, and the name of each phone owner is stripped from the information. But there is fear. Even if the information is anonymous, it can be paired with other publicly available information to identify and who belongs to certain points.

Location data can identify where the COVID-19 outbreak occurred

The hope is that by analyzing location data, the U.S. government will understand how the coronavirus is transmitted and how to stop it. The information obtained from the location data is so specific that it can authorities with names of shops, parks, and other places where people gather and may spread the virus. For example, analyzing location data has led researchers in New York to discover that people are migrating to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. In New York City parks, relevant information was provided to local authorities and warnings were issued. To be sure, although Prospect Park was at the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak, it remained open.

As you can see, the same technology that upsets you because of tracking your actions can also save lives. The information not only warns authorities where the coronavirus may spread, it also allows them to see which areas have been hit economically by measuring declines in retail store traffic. It can also measure compliance with residence orders by citizens in specific areas.

It sounds good to use location data for a common good, but that doesn't obscure the fact that many people are not only worried about advertisers, but governments are jeopardizing their . activist and researcher Wolfie Christl said the location data industry was using the spread of COVID-19 as an excuse to invade the of U.S. phone owners. , Even in some cases, even if a collects data secretly or illegally, aggregate analysis based on consumer data may be required. Since it is almost impossible to process location data anonymously, strong legal protections are required. "So far, no security measures have been announced and there is no restriction on the use of the data. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the data will not be used in the future for other reasons.

Companies that collect and sell location data generated up to $ 21 billion in revenue in 2017. Some US companies allow governments and researchers to view their data. The Wall Street Journal notes that a San Francisco-based company called LotaData has created a publicly accessible portal that analyzes location data in Italy to help authorities there identify the worst-hit areas in the world A possible outbreak in one of the countries. The agency also hopes to offer portals in Spain, California, and other places. Another company, Unacast, uses location data to power its social distance scoreboard. The scoreboard helps local governments understand how satisfied residents are with their family accommodation orders.

READ  As China returns to normal, manufacturers face logistics challenges

Currently, the public is happy that location data provides clues that could prevent the spread of COVID-19. But once the crisis is over, you can be sure that the use of location data will again be a pain point for consumers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons