Surveillance, Privacy, and App Tracking

Burris, S., de Guia, S., Gable, L., Levin, D.E., Parmet, W.E., Terry, N.P. (Eds.) (2020). Assessing Legal Responses to COVID-19. Boston: Public Health Law Watch

7 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2020

See all articles by Jennifer D. Oliva

Jennifer D. Oliva

Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center; UCSF/UC Law Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy

Date Written: July 31, 2020

Abstract

Over the last several months, global innovators have developed a heterogenous array of “smart” technology protocols and applications aimed at tracking, tracing, and containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19. The United States, which has left it to the states to acquire or build their own automated track and trace platforms, currently lags behind other countries. However, technology companies Apple and Google have announced co-production of a digital tracing platform for their phones. As this Chapter details, the United States lacks a comprehensive federal health data privacy law that protects the privacy of sensitive information collected and stored by digital contact tracking applications. The Chapter also explains how digital COVID-19 surveillance applications work, assesses their effectiveness from a public health perspective, and enumerates the legal and ethical issues they implicate. It concludes with proposals aimed at maximizing the public health benefits of COVID-19 surveillance technology while minimizing its inherent and conceivable threats to privacy, civil liberties, and vulnerable populations.

This paper was prepared as part of Assessing Legal Responses to COVID-19, a comprehensive report published by Public Health Law Watch in partnership with the de Beaumont Foundation and the American Public Health Association.

Keywords: public health, COVID-19, coronavirus, legal responses, pandemic, privacy, tracing

Suggested Citation

Oliva, Jennifer, Surveillance, Privacy, and App Tracking (July 31, 2020). Burris, S., de Guia, S., Gable, L., Levin, D.E., Parmet, W.E., Terry, N.P. (Eds.) (2020). Assessing Legal Responses to COVID-19. Boston: Public Health Law Watch, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3675833

Jennifer Oliva (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

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Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

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UCSF/UC Law Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.uchastings.edu/people/jennifer-d-oliva/

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