Digital exposure tools: Design for privacy, efficacy, and equity
10 sep. 2021 - Use of smartphone-based digital contact- tracing apps has shown promise in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But such apps can reveal very personal information; thus, their use raises important societal questions, not just during the current pandemic but as we learn and prepare for other inevitable outbreaks ahead. Can privacy-protective versions of such apps work? Are they efficacious? Because the apps influence who is notified of exposure and who gets tested—and possibly treated—we need to consider the apps in the context of health care equity. Exposure-notification apps are predicated on the assumption that if someone is informed of exposure, they will follow instructions to isolate. Such an expectation fails to take into account that isolation—and sometimes even seeking care when ill—is much harder for some populations than others. If apps are to work for all, and not make this worse for disadvantaged populations, there needs to be basic social infrastructure that supports testing, contact tracing, and isolation.