With the idea of contact tracing as a plan to help re-open businesses and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many Americans are skeptical about their privacy and how much data these tracing tools will collect on their lives.
In a joint survey between the Washington Post and the University of Maryland, only 43 percent of respondents said they trust the tech companies responsible for creating these contact tracing tools – specifically Apple and Google. Health insurance companies didn’t fare much better at 47 percent, while universities and public health agencies held a majority of trust with 56 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
Contact tracing has been touted as one of the only plans that would allow people in the U.S. to begin re-opening measures 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. But in the same survey, only 50 percent of respondents said they would use a contact tracing app, with only 17 percent of those people saying they would definitely use it.
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.