US Government, User Location Data, and Tech Companies

US Government, User Location Data, and Tech Companies

The coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the headlines. It is not surprising that governments all over the world are working to deal with coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, the U.S. government is reportedly in discussion with Facebook Inc. as well as Google’s parent company Alphabet, other major technology companies, and health experts. The topic of the discussion is the user location data.

According to unnamed White House officials, the plan involves using collected, anonymized smartphone data locations provided by tech companies. The purpose is to track and map the spread of the virus. Last week, technology industry leaders met with White House officials. The news came after that meeting.

The U.S. rushed to mobilize the private sector to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, the chief executive of Amazon.com Inc. Jeff Bezos is working with the administration regarding the pandemic. However, it was not clear in what capacity Bezos is working with the officials.

Techno companies and coronavirus pandemic

Notably, Facebook, as well as Google, are working in this direction. For example, the social media giant is working with health officials around the world for its disease-prevention maps project. Let’s have look at this project. It gathers data to access the severity of the spread of diseases.

 

Hopefully, Facebook is not alone when it comes to working on such projects. Google launched an early-stage coronavirus testing website.

 

Data gathered by analyzing the user location can be a huge help to authorities at a time when coronavirus continues to spread across the country. Moreover, the location data could also offer other benefits like details on the impact of social distancing measures that are currently in place.

 

However, not everyone supports this idea due to problems connected with privacy. Hopefully,  the location data will be aggregated and anonymized. Moreover, it will not grant the U.S. government the ability to monitor the movement of a particular person according to sources. Thus, people do not have to worry about this topic.

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