One of the reasons South Korea may be having so much more success in battling the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to its massive testing program, is its phone-based tracing technology. If you know where people are and where they have been, positive test results can allow you to direct that exposed individuals self-isolate immediately. That can help arrest the spread.
In a March 30, 2020 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Glenn Archer and Luciana Borio call for “engaging entrepreneurs, public-health experts, privacy advocates, constitutional lawyers and legislators” to take a look at tech-centered proposals to see what might work in a technological and epidemiological sense while also protecting freedom and privacy. They offer this specific proposal:
“Here is an idea that could work: The federal government should establish a public-trust, nonprofit entity to oversee the development and implementation of digital contact-tracing capability. This entity could develop a contact-tracing app that Americans would voluntarily download. After a user provided consent, each phone would generate an anonymous identification number. When app users are in proximity, the numbers would be exchanged via Bluetooth and stored for a limited time.”
by Eric E. Johnson
published March 31, 2020