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As lockdowns ease, states must lock up contact tracing data

  • By Torsten George

  • Jul 08, 2020

  • As states across the country gradually ease lockdowns — and as infections spike in new localities —  many local government leaders are looking to contact tracing to help track, identify and quarantine new cases of COVID-19 . To assist this effort, Google and Apple announced a security- and privacy-based framework in April 2020 to allow developers in each state to build these apps for public use.

    In the quest to return back to normal however, two big questions remain: who is going to have access to this sensitive data, and how can we prevent it from getting into the wrong hands?

    Data storage challenges

    As we’ve seen with many of the varying state coronavirus policies, one of the biggest issues is that each state has its own privacy laws, which will undoubtedly create discrepancies and inconsistencies in how to store and protect data.

    For example, will California have its own database while New York, New Jersey and Connecticut partner together in the tri-state area? Do cities such as Dallas, Austin and Houston need their own isolated databases because of population density compared to rural areas? And, as states reopen businesses and people start traveling again, will this information need to be shared across state borders?

    We’ve already seen, some states rejected the Google-Apple framework and sought a different solution, and others may consider a similar path. With technologies, policies and procedures varying between states, it becomes harder to maintain security and compliance standards for national data.

    While some stat ..