Analysis Group Affiliate Anindya Ghose and Professor D. Daniel Sokol Discuss Use of Platform Technology to Combat Health Pandemics

April 20, 2020

Effective use of data from digital platforms and related technological ecosystems could be key to mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Analysis Group Affiliate Anindya Ghose and coauthor D. Daniel Sokol. In their commentary published on the blog of the Yale Journal on Regulation and the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, Professors Ghose and Sokol note that data from smartphones, GPS, and wearable fitness trackers can combine with sophisticated algorithms to trace networks of contact with COVID-19 patients. This practice has already been used to successfully slow the spread of the pandemic in Korea and Taiwan, and, say the authors, warrants immediate, broader consideration.

Regarding consumer concerns about data privacy, Professors Ghose and Sokol suggest that, given the unusual and dire circumstances, government authorities “need a set of consent exceptions that allows non-health data to be harnessed for the public health.” A swift, thoughtful collaboration between the technology sector and the government could result in regulatory policy changes that have proven potential to save lives.

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