Visible to the public Take my word for it: Privacy and COVID alert apps can coexistConflict Detection Enabled


Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, technologists across the country have rushed to develop digital apps for contact tracing and exposure notifications. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware have all recently announced the launch of such apps, announcements which generated excitement. But the advent of these tools has also created questions. Chief among them: Do these apps protect privacy?

The short answer is that it really depends on the app -- but clearly these four were all designed to be privacy protective. Each of these states worked with an Irish company to build their apps using technology developed by Google and Apple earlier this year. The exposure notification system designed by those two companies was built to prioritize privacy while allowing state health authorities to embed it into apps.

Lorrie Cranor is the director and Bosch distinguished professor in security and privacy technologies of CyLab and the FORE Systems professor of computer science and of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

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