Location Data From Mobile Ads To Be Used By US Government To Track The Spread Of Coronavirus


Government across the nations was encouraged to unleash what has been termed as ‘violation of privacy’ as per the security analysts due the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. To track the citizens, the US government authorities are heading towards utilizing the mobile phone location data from the mobile advertisement industry. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with state and national governments in the US will be using the data accumulated by the advertisers via various platforms like Facebook, in order to trace and track the movement of Americans route within the ‘geographical interest’ areas. This was reported by The Wall Street Journal.
This information will be collected from across 500 cities in the US to build up a national portal. This will aid the US government to make sure that how well their citizens are complying with the orders laid down for quarantine. While this measure has a positive effect by tracing the movement of the potentially infected individuals and thus stopping the spread of the virus, it has currently raised questions related to privacy issues of people.
As per the report of WSJ, debates are being carried on among the privacy advocates to fix the limits of this data collection method. It was also said that the data should be only utilized for the purpose for which it has been collected and not for any purpose beyond it.
US government is not the only one government which has initiated this surveillance method on its citizens. Other nations government like China, Europe, South Korea, Singapore and also India has initiated methods that could the extract the mobile phone information via the local carriers and then monitor their citizens.
In India, an app ‘Corona Kavach’ was recently launched by the government for its citizens. This app will ask the permission to access the location data on mobile phones to warn the citizens if they are presently in a high-risk region. The phone’s GPS is used by the app to track the movement of the user and also the government has announced that the identity of the user would not be disclosed to the government or third parties and will not be stored in any of the servers.