U.S. government in talks with tech companies about using smartphone location data to combat coronavirus

by Daniel Payne · Mar 18th, 2020 6:35 am
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The U.S. government and the tech industry may turn to mobile phone data to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, including utilizing location services to ensure that citizens are staying far enough away from each other to prevent community spread of the disease.

Phone information under this scenario would reportedly be aggregated as anonymous data, after which public health officials could use it to map the spread of the disease. The United States saw a fivefold increase of COVID-19 over the past week, leaping from 1,000 cases to over 5,000 in a relatively brief period of time.

Governments have been resorting to ever-more drastic measures to stop the disease from spreading. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio this week said New Yorkers should be prepared to "shelter in place" very soon. The European Union, meanwhile, is closing its borders for a month to stop new infections from abroad .


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