Sara Harrison writes:
As COVID-19 spreads to 50 states this month, the U.S. government is in talks with tech companies including Google and Facebook about possibly using location data from Americans’ cellphones to track the spread of the coronavirus, The Washington Post has reported.
Public health officials are exploring whether the data could help them understand how the virus is spreading, which hospitals are overwhelmed, and whether Americans are practicing appropriate social distancing, according to the Post report.
If the plan goes into effect, officials said, the data set would be anonymized by removing personally identifying information, such as names and individual’s locations.
But anonymization isn’t enough to guarantee privacy. Decades of research shows that large data sets can often be deanonymized and used to reveal sensitive information about individual people.
Read more on The Markup.