MAURO: Coronavirus contact tracing poses serious threats to our privacy

Aaron Mauro, Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Brock University, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about the need to inform the public of the complexities of contact tracing apps before they are broadly adopted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

He writes:

“We are all wondering how COVID-19 will end. We will not likely return to normal without a broadly distributed vaccine, which is a bracing proposition. It is also becoming increasingly clear that we will have to find a way to trace transmission and maybe even enforce individual quarantines in the interim.

I want to say that I am not an epidemiologist, nor am I a public health official. As a faculty member within the Centre for Digital Humanities at Brock University, my role is to communicate the social and cultural consequences of digital media, including potential privacy and security risks of software used to limit the effects of COVID-19. 

In the coming weeks and months, I expect that we will hear a lotabout ‘contact tracing.’ Contact tracing involves interviewing patients to collect information on all the people they have had sustained contact with and all the places they have been. It is laborious and error-prone because it is dependent on memory, interviews and detective work.

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