Technology Sen. Maria Cantwell sponsors bill to shield privacy amid COVID-19 contact tracing

03:20  03 june  2020
03:20  03 june  2020 Source:   geekwire.com

Apple and Google's COVID-19 contact tracing tech is ready

  Apple and Google's COVID-19 contact tracing tech is ready Today, Apple and Google are releasing their COVID-19 contact tracing technology to public health agencies (PHAs) around the world. So far, 22 countries on five continents have requested the API, which will allow PHAs to develop their own contact tracing apps. Apple and Google have been collaborating on the Exposure Notifications System API for several weeks. As planned, the API will use Bluetooth to exchange keys between phones. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can inform their contact tracing app, which will use the API to send exposure notifications to people they may have come in contact with.

Cantwell 's co - sponsor on the bill is Sen . Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, also has "We need to regulate apps that provide COVID - 19 exposure notification to protect a user's privacy , prevent data misuse and preserve our civil rights -- and this

The controversial NHS contact - tracing app will be a “key part” of the British government’s Covid - 19 “surveillance programme” going forward, a spokesman The app, which has been designed to notify people if they were in close contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus, could be

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is one of the sponsors of bipartisan legislation aimed at ensuring that coronavirus tracing apps protect consumer privacy.

Maria Cantwell et al. sitting at a table: Sen.Maria Cantwell chats with GeekWire Chairman Jonathan Sposato at the 2015 GeekWire Summit. © Provided by Geekwire Sen.Maria Cantwell chats with GeekWire Chairman Jonathan Sposato at the 2015 GeekWire Summit.

The Exposure Notification Privacy Act relates to automated contact tracing tools that are currently being developed by companies ranging from Apple and Google to PricewaterhouseCoopers and Juniper Networks.

Such systems typically involve monitoring a user’s movements, and issuing an alert if it’s determined that the user has previously come in close contact with another user who tests positive for COVID-19. The proximity data is typically uses Bluetooth data to monitor proximity.

Senators’ plan for reining in contact tracing apps doesn’t make a lot of sense

  Senators’ plan for reining in contact tracing apps doesn’t make a lot of sense It’s unclear how to enforce the new privacy measuresRepublican Sens. Roger Wicker (MS), John Thune (SD), Jerry Moran (KS), and Marsha Blackburn (TN) said the legislation also would “hold businesses accountable to consumers if they use personal data to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.” The act would permit the creation of “platforms that could trace the virus and help flatten the curve and stop the spread – and maintaining privacy protections for U.S. citizens,” Thune said.

ROME (Reuters) - Italy on Monday released a contested mobile app to trace coronavirus infections in four regions before extending it to the whole country "In this way we will be able to identify someone who was sitting on the bus next to an infected person," Pier Luigi Lopalco, head of the COVID - 19

The coronavirus COVID - 19 is affecting 213 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances. The day is reset after midnight GMT+0. The list of countries and territories and their continental regional classification is based on the United Nations Geoscheme.

PwC and Juniper say they plan to equip their own employees with the tracing tools, and make them available to clients as well. Apple and Google have created software that developers and public health agencies can build into contact tracing apps. The Apple-Google software is being incorporated into Italy’s Immuni app, Latvia’s Aptun app and Switzerland’s SwissCovid app.

Britain, France and Singapore are working on mobile tracing systems that aren’t based on the Apple-Google standard. Several apps are in the works in the United States, including North Dakota’s Care19, Utah’s Healthy Together and apps for Alabama and South Carolina.

The legislation introduced by Cantwell and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., makes participation in commercial online exposure notification systems voluntary and limits the kinds of data that can be collected. Public health officials would have to be involved in the deployment of systems, and only medically authorized diagnoses could be fed into the systems. That’s meant to guard against the filing of false infection reports, or “contact swatting.”

UK switches COVID-19 contact tracing app to Apple and Google framework

  UK switches COVID-19 contact tracing app to Apple and Google framework The UK is changing its mind on its coronavirus contact tracing app. Going forward, the UK will use the Apple and Google API, BBC reports. This means rather than use a “centralized” model as planned, the UK will adopt the “decentralized” approach that’s been gaining traction across Europe. Contact tracing apps exchange keys between phones and alert users if they were in close proximity (for an extended period) to someone who reports a positive COVID-19 test result. They essentially come in two flavors: centralized, in which the contact tracing occurs in a server, and decentralized, in which it occurs on a device.

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COVID - 19 apps are mobile software applications that use digital tracking to aid contact tracing in response to the COVID - 19 pandemic, i.e. the process of identifying persons (" contacts "

“Public health needs to be in charge of any notification system so we protect people’s privacy and help them know when there is a warning that they might have been exposed to COVID-19,” Cantwell, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said in a statement.

Participants in the exposure notification systems would have the right to delete their data at any time. The law also would prohibit discrimination against any individual in places of public accommodation based on the information they provide, or based on their choice not to participate in the system.

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Federal and state authorities would be empowered to enforce the lay by seeking injunctions, civil penalties and other monetary relief.

Washington state’s health secretary, John Wiesman, said he welcomed Cantwell’s efforts. “People must feel confident they can safely choose to participate in this important public health work,” he said. “This legislation will ensure that.”

Qatar’s contact tracing app put over one million people’s info at risk

  Qatar’s contact tracing app put over one million people’s info at risk Contact tracing apps have the potential to slow the spread of COVID-19. But without proper security safeguards, some fear they could put users’ data and sensitive info at risk. Until now, that threat has been theoretical. Today, Amnesty International reports that a flaw in Qatar’s contact tracing app put the personal information of more than one million people at risk. The flaw, now fixed, made info like names, national IDs, health status and location data vulnerable to cyberattacks. Amnesty’s Security Lab discovered the flaw on May 21st and says authorities fixed it on May 22nd. The vulnerability had to do with QR codes that included sensitive info.

How Covid - 19 misinformation is still spreading online. French officials have said they hope to have their own contact - tracing app ready by mid-May. On Friday, the tech giants announced further privacy protections for their app framework, including making it optional to share a positive diagnosis

High-level view of Government of Canada's response to the COVID - 19 pandemic including: economic and financial support, travel advisories, at Canadian borders, support for Canadians abroad, collaboration, for clinical trial sponsors and drug and medical device supply monitoring.

Ed Lazowska, a computer science professor at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, agreed with Wiesman.

“This bill will strengthen people’s confidence in decentralized exposure notification services – a technology with an important role to play supporting manual contact tracing – while protecting users’ privacy,” Lazowska said. “It requires public health agencies to be in control, prevents unverified diagnoses from being uploaded, and specifies strong cybersecurity protections.”

In addition to Cantwell and Cassidy, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has signed on as a bill sponsor.

Many of the legislation’s provisions are already part of the Apple-Google software standards. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, told MIT Technology Review that the two tech giants seem to be effectively setting national policy through their decisions.

“There’s a vacuum, and they do control access through the technology,” Kahn said. “I guess it’s not surprising, but they’re definitely dictating terms.”

As an example, Kahn said the Apple-Google software put a premium on minimizing battery usage That’s likely to make it more palatable for users to download and use the app, but could make it harder for the Bluetooth-based system to detect other users nearby.

WHO will launch a COVID-19 app for countries that don't make their own .
Numerous countries have COVID-19 symptom and tracking apps, but the World Health Organization wants to fill in those gaps for the countries that are too stretched to develop their own software. The WHO’s Bernardo Mariano told Reuters in an interview that the outfit planned to release a symptoms assessment app worldwide later in May. Any government could release a customized version of the app, Mariano said, but the stock version will help countries that “do not have anything.” KIEV, UKRAINE - 2020/03/16: In this photo illustration the World Health Organization logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.

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