Increased access to location data from smartphones as part of a plan to curb the spread of the coronavirus have called on technology giants like Facebook and Google from US authorities.
This was reported on the condition of anonymity by four people linked to the companies involved, which were attended by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported NBC News.
Federal health officials say they could use anonymous and aggregated user data collected by technology companies to map the spread of the virus, a practice known as syndromic surveillance, and prevent new infections. They could also use the data to see if people practiced social distancing, ”reported the television station.
Reported in the first instance by The Washington Post, the formula would be anonymous and the government would not have access to specific locations of the people, who first and foremost would have to explicitly authorize monitoring.
The federal initiative to force tech giants to weigh their commitments to the privacy of their users against their desire to help combat a disease that has cost thousands of human lives and has disrupted the global economy, the chain said.
The report detailed that officials have held at least two telephone dialogues in recent days with representatives of the companies. Similar and more aggressive surveillance practices have already been used in China, South Korea and Israel, NBC News record.
In fact, Facebook already provides anonymous data to scientists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as a collaboration in disease prevention.
Privacy advocates set off alarms. Providing greater access to location data could be the first step to deeper privacy breaches in the future, they argued.
Representatives from Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco participated in the dialogues with the White House and federal health officials. Company spokespersons declined to comment on the discussions, the same version detailed.
At the end of this edition, the pandemic totaled around 215,000 infected worldwide, of which just under 9,000 had suffered a fatal outcome. The United States was listed as the eighth nation with the most infected people and 118 deaths, most of them registered in the state of Washington.