back to article As the US maybe gets serious about coronavirus-tracking apps, Congress wakes up to the privacy risks

A bi-partisan group of US senators are preparing a new bill that would ensure privacy protections in coronavirus tracking apps, as legislative interest grows in what contact-tracing will entail. The “Exposure Notification Privacy Act” is designed to make sure that the vast quantities of data that are expected to be generated …

  1. Chris G

    Whether valid or not, take these opinions to a relevant thread and evangelise there.

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      My sentiments exactly. I read until the word "Breitbart" and stopped right there.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    So they are talking about coronavirus tracking but not coronavirus testing? Most states in the US have rules that you can't be tested unless you have been with someone who has been tested and has been shown to have virus. But if you are just feeling sick then nothing happens unless it gets really bad. The president is very happy, America is leading the world again!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "There is also the fact that many tech companies have become expert at taking whatever databases they can get hold of and find ways to tie them to their existing information sources."

    Just like a certain three letter governmental agency which will love all this location data.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Just one three-letter agency? You aren't using your imagination.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Location data has no use for contact tracing

    You have an app that reveals who was in contact with who. That is what doctors need to know. Where it happened has no medical use whatsoever.

    Therefor, any contact tracing database that purports to include location data is just a PII grab and should be avoided.

    1. Drew Scriver

      Re: Location data has no use for contact tracing

      Very good point, but I expect the trackers would argue that they also want to be able to warn people who have not been in direct contact but still shared the environment.

      If someone with COVID-19 has been in the produce department they could have sneezed all over the apples, for instance. Those apples could be purchased hours after the patient has left the store...

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Location data has no use for contact tracing

        The Apple / Google app will know _all_ the phones near to someone infected. The person themselves won’t know who they were close to in the pub, or on the train. So you can inform more people. And all that without people having to call those nearby - therefore no chance for scammers to make these calls.

        1. Drew Scriver

          Re: Location data has no use for contact tracing

          Valid point, but tapping into existing tracking would mean the authorities would miss out on this perfect excuse to start tracking everyone themselves...

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I hope they'll find time to have a word with their opposite numbers in the HoP.

  6. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

    Oh for the days when we could actually achieve something

    When I started out in this broad area of work, if someone could sensibly describe their requirement and the data involved, we could deliver a system that worked.

    Yet here we are with a contact tracing requirement that can be defined in a paragraph and the entire industry in the west, supposedly working together, has delivered nothing except endless discussion of privacy issues while real people are actually dying. And this literally months after the South Koreans have their app up and running.

    What if the virus was ten times more dangerous, or if it was seventy times more deadly for IT developers than it was for our parents rather than the other way around? What then? Would we still be watching people having this tortuous discussion until there was no one left to be discuss anything.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Oh for the days when we could actually achieve something

      You say nothing has been produced other than discussions about privacy. Wrong. Several countries are having apps based on the Apple / google api in the AppStore and play store.

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