COVID-19 and Digital Contact Tracing: Regulating the Future of Public Health Surveillance
61 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2020 Last revised: 4 Feb 2021
Date Written: September 18, 2020
Digital surveillance tools⎼⎼technological means of monitoring, tracking, and notifying⎼⎼are at the forefront of public health response strategies for the COVID-19 pandemic. Comprehensive and effective digital public health surveillance requires that public health authorities, regulatory powers, and developers consider interdisciplinary approaches. This entails accounting for the use of tracking technologies and location and proximity data; notification systems from tech companies; and laws and regulations associated with health information, biometric privacy, and mobile data. Of particular importance is incorporation of epidemiological considerations in development and implementation of digital tools, including usability across mobile devices, interoperability, regulation of literacy and disability compatibility, and incentivization for adoption. It is both feasible and prudent that the United States establish a federal network for public health surveillance aided by digital tools, especially considering that waves of COVID-19 are expected to continue well into 2021 and while the threat of other emerging infectious diseases persists.
Keywords: COVID-19, contact tracing, exposure notification, contact tracing apps, apps, digital surveillance, surveillance, public health, privacy, security, data privacy, pandemic
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