NEW YORK — Apple and Google today announced a joint contact tracing effort using Bluetooth technology.

Below is comment from Jennifer Granick, ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel, in response:

"No contact tracing app can be fully effective until there is widespread, free, and quick testing and equitable access to health care. These systems also can’t be effective if people don’t trust them. People will only trust these systems if they protect privacy, remain voluntary, and store data on an individual's device, not a centralized repository. At the same time, we must be realistic that such contact tracing methods are likely to exclude many vulnerable members of society who lack access to technology and are already being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

"To their credit, Apple and Google have announced an approach that appears to mitigate the worst privacy and centralization risks, but there is still room for improvement. We will remain vigilant moving forward to make sure any contact tracing app remains voluntary and decentralized, and used only for public health purposes and only for the duration of this pandemic."

The ACLU recently released a white paper on the limits of location tracking technology to address the pandemic. The paper is here: https://www.aclu.org/aclu-white-paper-limits-location-tracking-epidemic

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