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The US government is in active talks with tech giants such as Facebook, Apple and Google about obtaining location data from smartphones, laptops, and other devices which may public health experts in tracking coronavirus infections which is spreading all over the globe.
A few days ago, a BBC report revealed Facebook is working with a couple of researchers at the Harvard University in Boston, and a Taiwan-based university to keep a track of people’s movement and map them using population density maps, albeit in an anonymous way.
The report notes Facebook executives have revealed the US government is keen on understanding how people are moving around, the data about which will be derived from users who allow Facebook to collect it.
Google too had confirmed being in talks with the government. Though, there are privacy concerns. The US government, however, believes that it can utilise data with risking privacy of users. A White House official reportedly said that the location data could be extracted in an anonymous way and can be used to track from where the disease is spreading and whether people are following necessary social distancing or not.
These tech giants including Facebook, Google, Reddit, Youtube, Linkedin, and Microsoft had issued a joint statement announcing that they have joined forces to combat misinformation about coronavirus on social media and frauds circulated all over.
The companies say that they have been closely working together on the responses of covid-19 and are making sure that millions of people stay connected making sure there isn’t any fraud or misinformation being circulated on the online platforms. They also make sure that the critical updates about the diseases have been shared coordinating with the government and health care agencies all around the globe and making sure that all the people stay safe and healthy.
The US government is not alone in seeking data from smartphones, allegedly to track coronavirus infections as there are initiatives taken from Israel.