Dutch Researchers say the coronavirus apps being developed by Apple, Google, and the United Kingdom's National Health Services' digital innovation branch could be a risk to humans' civil liberties, reports Tech Xplore.
The apps would be able to track and contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected nearly two million people worldwide and killed over 119,000.
Using Bluetooth, smartphones can log other phones they have been near. If someone becomes infected, there is a ready list of their prior encounters. Phones on the list would get push notifications urging them to get tested or self-isolate.
Virginia Dignum and Frank Dignum, professors at Umeå University, along with nearly 60 researchers and experts, urged the Dutch Government to investigate the usefulness of such apps and to consider their social and legal effects before using them.
"The use of tracking-tracing apps and apps for health monitoring is very drastic," the researchers write. "Whether we like it or not, these apps will set a precedent for future use of similarly invasive technologies, even after this crisis.
"Tracking and tracing apps and health apps have an impact on more than (data) privacy alone. They touch on freedom of association, the right to safety, the right to health and the right to non-discrimination. Fundamental rights and freedoms that cannot simply be set aside in a democracy. Precisely in times of crisis, one has to make very careful social and legal assessments to determine whether one wants to take such invasive measures."
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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