Apple and Google are in the planning stages of releasing a contact tracing app, which would allow people to anonymously track who has tested positive for COVID-19 and whether they’ve come in contact with one another. The public, however, is split on if they’ll even use the app when it's released.
In a new survey from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland, respondents were split fifty-fifty on whether they’d use a contact tracing app if one was made available. Of the 50 percent who said they’d use it, only 17 percent said they would definitely use it compared to 32 percent who said they’d probably use it. Of the 50 percent who said they wouldn’t use the app, 20 percent were certain they wouldn’t and 30 percent thought they probably wouldn’t use it.
Contact tracing has been touted as one of the only plans that would allow people in the U.S. to begin re-opening and end social distancing without causing further outbreaks. Experts suggest around 60 percent of the population would need to participate in contact tracing in order to stop the spread of the virus.
However, many are weary of privacy concerns surrounding companies having access to location data and health records, despite Google and Apple creating strict privacy guidelines around their contact tracing tools. Encrypted data and a plethora of safeguards are said to exist within these contact tracing tools, but with large data breaches occurring almost annually with top tech companies, many are still cautious.