The United States government is reportedly in talks with Google, Facebook , and a number of technology companies to contribute to countering the Covid-19 outbreak.
The US government is said to be using user location data that can be obtained by Facebook and Google from smartphones, to help combat the spread of corona. According to the Washington Post report, the news emerged from an official at the White House who declined to be identified. Read also trending news below:
According to him, the user’s location data can be used to map the possibility of Covid-19 transmission in the US. In addition, the user’s location data will also be used to ensure the US community follows the call of the local government to conduct social distancing.
This cooperation plan came after US government officials held a meeting with technology industry leaders.The news then raises questions about the privacy of users who are considered threatened, if the US government can really monitor the movement of its people.
However, to maintain user privacy, it is said that the location data will be collected anonymously. Thus it is not possible for the US government to specifically monitor the movements of certain people or individuals. Summarized from Business Insider, Friday (03/20/2020), this is not the first time Facebook has provided user location data for health purposes.
Facebook itself had previously established partnerships with a number of health organizations in the world, to create projects to map the spread of infectious diseases. “The Disease Prevention Map has helped many organizations in health emergencies for more than a year,” said Laura McGorman, Policy Lead for Facebook Data for Good.
Using technology to prevent transmission of disease has also already been done by China. The Chinese government teamed up with Alibaba and Tencent to identify the health of the population, by filling out travel reports and medical history. Google, too.
Earlier this week the Alphabet subsidiary released a portal that can guide people through the Covid-19 testing process in California. Nevertheless both Facebook and Google did not provide a response related to this news.