Americans don’t like sharing data with their government

He explains how it works. “A list of Bluetooth interactions are kept, encrypted and stored on a server, with no way to tie them back to a specific phone,” Applbaum said. “This scenario allows for an infected person to opt-in only after they learn of their infection. Then, a private key is sent to a server that triggers an alert to all of the phones of those whose Bluetooth signals crossed paths with the infected. They are informed that they need to quarantine—but are not provided any specifics.”

A country like the United States would be a perfect location for a contact tracing app because almost everyone carries a smartphone. The problem would be convincing enough people that such an app would be safe to use and not an invasion of privacy. And Applbaum knows that government would never be able to demand the public use the tool.

“On a policy level, it’s hard to imagine a government mandate to install a contact tracing application, though with enough education and instruction people can learn that it’s not that dangerous. And with a critical mass of adopters, everyone will be protected,” he said. “If people were open to downloading the application, and opted in to sharing data with epidemiologists, this would be simple. Of course, the emotional element of human behavior is tough to predict.”

What a pickle.

Original source: Technology for the Next Phase of Pandemic