Tech & Science European mobile carriers will share location data to track COVID-19 spread

02:25  26 march  2020
02:25  26 march  2020 Source:   engadget.com

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Eight major mobile carriers agreed to share customer location data with the European Commission in a bid to track the spread of COVID - 19 , the GSMA said in a statement on Wednesday. The announcement arrives after Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Telenor

In recent weeks, mobile operators have started to share anonymized data with EU governments in response to the spread of COVID - 19 . Carriers involved in the discussions with the Commission said Breton's request would likely include providing the same type of data , and would have to respect the

a close up of a busy city street

More governments are relying on phone location tracking in a bid to track and contain the spread of COVID-19. Eight European carriers, including Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Orange and Vodafone, have agreed to share phone location data with the European Commission to help measure the coronavirus' reach. That immediately raises privacy issues, but an official talking to Reuters stressed that the EC would protect users.

The data will be aggregated and anonymized, the official said. The Commission will also delete the info when the pandemic is over. The European Data Protection Supervisor also wants the Commission to "clearly define" the data it wants to collect, maintain transparency and limit access to epidemiologists and other relevant experts.

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Patients with COVID - 19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID - 19 spreads , a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths.

Multiple European countries are considering tracking track users’ phone data to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, prompting Still, location data from wireless carriers alone can produce a lot of false positives. If their symptoms are consistent with COVID - 19 , the individual can be connected

Separately, the World Health Organization has maintained that any technological assistance in fighting COVID-19 would have to protect human rights and privacy.

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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. An agency of the European Union. This leaflet provides basic information on novel coronavirus disease ( COVID - 19 ), how it spreads , symptoms, how to avoid catching or spreading the virus, what to do if you fall ill and information for travellers.

Situation dashboard - COVID - 19 cases in Europe and worldwide. The interface allows users to explore and interact with latest available data on COVID - 19 and switch chart to tables view for details. The situation dashboard now includes more detailed data on cases from the EU/EEA and the UK.

While this could alleviate some fears that the tracking would be used as a pretext to surveil EU residents, there are still concerns. No matter how trustworthy the EU may be, it's unclear just how effectively it might anonymize and secure that data. And while the height of the coronavirus outbreak might be relatively brief, it's not clear how long the crisis will last. There's a possibility the tracking could last longer than some would like.

Full coverage: Read more on coronavirus from Microsoft News
Donate: Support UNICEF's coronavirus response effort through Benevity
More info: Read the latest advice on COVID-19 from the Australian Government
COVID-19 tracker: Interactive map and stats tracking the coronavirus worldwide

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