US government considers tracking technology to find open hospital beds, limit contact between people

Government officials are exploring the possibility of using tracking and surveillance technology to combat the rapid spreading coronavirus, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Possibilities include geolocation tracking that would monitor people’s locations through their phones and then determine if they have been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Another effort is to monitor hospital-bed availability across the country through geolocation data.

These efforts are part of a task force that is working with the White House. The task force includes insights from Google, Facebook and Amazon.

However, some have raised concerns about how these technology initiatives would jeopardize the privacy of patients.

“We understand that given we are in this crisis, that some temporary adjustments of our digital liberties may be necessary, however it’s really important that those adjustments be made temporarily,” said Adam Schwartz, senior lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to WSJ.

To read more, click here.

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