ACLU warns app tracking for apps designed to monitor COVID-19 distribution may be & # 39; important & # 39; privacy risks if they do not have proper safeguards
- The ACLU says contact tracing apps should be created with privacy in mind
- It said that apps could have significant privacy risks if not properly designed
- Among other things, the ACLU recommends more robust privacy controls
- Here you can help people who are not affected by Covid-19
In a white paper published by the American Civil Liberties Union, the watchdog agency warned that apps meant to follow the spread of COVID-19 with major privacy risks & # 39; s coming.
Although the ACLU does not expressly oppose apps that use people's phone data to detect the spread of the virus, the organization says in its opinion that implementation requires a greater level of user consent – especially when it comes to about how their data is shared.
The ACLU says that apps for tracking contacts & # 39; important & # 39; can carry privacy risks if not designed with robust security and permission controls (stock)
& # 39; While some of these systems could offer public health benefits, they can also pose significant risks & # 39; s to privacy, civil rights and civil liberties, & # 39; writes ACLU & # 39; s Surveillance and Cybersecurity Counsel, Jennifer Stisa Granick in a blog post.
& # 39; If such systems are to work, widespread, free, and fast testing should be available. & # 39;
The ACLU warns & # 39; voluntary & # 39; should be an integral part of any contact tracking system, otherwise users could completely reject their implementation by disabling their location data.
& # 39; Systems should also be widely adopted, but that will not happen if people do not trust them. To be confident, the tool must protect privacy, be voluntary, and store data on an individual's device rather than in a centralized repository, & # 39; wrote the ACLU.
According to the organization, contact tracking proposals such as those recently released by Google and Apple must also express terms on how the data can be used.
For example, a statute that dictates that all data collected is not used for advertising purposes, in addition to limits on how long the data can be kept by governments.
A trace app for contacting the NHS would only completely stop the spread of coronavirus if 80 percent of today's smartphone owners use it, researchers have warned
The ACLU has also questioned whether data could be used for surveillance purposes and has sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for correspondence with Google and Apple.
The & # 39; ACLU guidance on contact tracking comes on & # 39; hacks from a Google and Apple initiative working together to support governments and health authorities in developing their own contact tracing app.
Specifically, companies allow governments and health agencies access to their application program interfaces (APIs), allowing them to interface with Google and Apple's databases to build their own contact tracking apps.
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