US Senator Ed Markey has raised caution in the government’s efforts to team up with top tech companies to track the COVID-19 outbreak as a way to combat the disease. Markey wrote a letter to the White House’s CTO, Michael Kratsios about his concerns on consumer privacy. The US government had discussions with top tech players including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and IBM, and to discuss using smartphone location data as part of “modeling efforts” as the virus spreads in the US.
“We need assurances that collection and processing of these types of information, even if aggregated and anonymized, do not pose safety and privacy risks to individuals,” Markey wrote in the letter. He asked the government to describe how the data would be collected, anonymized and stored, who would have access to it and which companies were involved in the effort.