Challenges of Tech-assisted COVID19 Contact Tracking Apps


Pandemic infected nations are mustering resources at their disposal to deploy the latest technology that helps people fight against COVID19. With despair lingering and the countries in disarray, the technological advancements are turning out to be complicated than foreseen.

The first smartphone application developed by the United States to trace the contacts of COVID19 patients is facing technical glitches and reduced interest by residents. Contact tracing is conducted by skilled public health workers who interview the people exposed to the illness and urge them to get tested before self-isolating. According to experts, around 300,000 U.S. workers are working effectively, however some lack expertise in this area.

Alongside another tech-assisted surveillance tool by global giants Apple and Google are on the way, but with certain potential risks such as accuracy issues and the fact of unwillingness to share the details with governments that monitors the outburst of the virus. The tech organizations like Salesforce have likewise offered database apparatuses to help the legislature in manual tracking endeavors. Notwithstanding, they raise privacy concerns in light of the need to store a person’s information, including their wellbeing status, social associations, and whereabouts.

The state government is warned by the American Civil Liberties Union in its policy paper imparted to the Associated Press. It asks the tech firms to set up stricter security gauges before conveying any applications that recognize and control the COVID19 flare-up. Counting the most security-oriented devices, destined to be propelled by Apple and Google, are obliged to follow certain imperatives with the goal that they don’t violate the personal data.

Neema Singh Guliani, a senior legislative counsel with the ACLU, asks governments to execute strict standards tending to both viability and person’s security so that observation instruments don’t hinder the customary general wellbeing strategies. She says, “Good designs don’t require you to gather people’s location information and store that.”

According to ACLU’s report, the location-tracking application that tracks movements via satellite-based GPS and stores it in the centralized government databases should be disallowed. An increasingly estimated methodology is utilized by ACLU, which makes use of Bluetooth remote technology to warn the people about COVID-19 exposure around them without uncovering their personal information to the administration bodies.

Marcel Salathé, the Swiss epidemiologist, says that almost every COVID19 application is fundamentally broken as they gather irrelevant details of people and do not function appropriately with Android and iPhone devices. Salathé authored a paper stating the importance of the privacy-protecting approach adopted by tech giants. It considers it as the best hope for a tool that helps people isolate before showing any symptoms and spread the illness.

North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah were the first not many U.S. states to utilize voluntary portable applications that empower general health departments to screen the area just as associations of COVID19 patients. Nonetheless, the governors failed to bring in the general public from using this app.

South Dakota had the most elevated known pace of participation up until now; be that as it may, the most recent week had distinctly about 2% of inhabitants utilizing the Care19 application on their devices. The equivalent application is getting even less help in North Dakota.

Crystal Wolfrum, a paralegal in Minot, North Dakota, uses the app among her neighbors and friends but has given a negative review on the app store as it failed to track lengthy shopping trips made by her to Walmart and Target stores. Wolfrum says she is dubious that the application will be valuable due to its poor performance and resident’s wariness.