VLP Partner Melissa Krasnow Quoted in ScienceMag.org on Cellphone Tracking and Coronavirus
VLP Partner Melissa Krasnow was quoted in the ScienceMag.org article “Cellphone tracking could help stem the spread of coronavirus. Is privacy the price?”
The article describes the potential health benefits of tapping into cellphone location data to track the spread of coronavirus infection and warn people who may have been exposed in different countries. While digital contact tracing systems are already running in a number of countries, details are scarce and privacy concerns abound. Laws in the United States and the European Union are very specific about how app and device users must consent to the use of their data—and how much information companies must disclose about how that data will be used, stored, and shared.
Google and Facebook are both in discussions with the U.S. government about sharing anonymized location data.
According to Ms. Krasnow: “U.S. companies have to deal with a patchwork of state and federal privacy regulations…. App and devicemakers could face user lawsuits for sharing data in a way that wasn’t originally specified in their terms of service—unless federal or local officials pass legislation that would free them from liability. “Now you’ve got a global pandemic, so you would think that [you] would be able to use this information for the global good, but you can’t….There’s expectations about privacy.”
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