Coronavirus: a data tracking app. What about privacy?
Coronavirus: a data tracking app. What about privacy?

Coronavirus: a data tracking app. What about privacy?

By Lorenzo Dalvit - 20 Apr 2020

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Immuni is a mobile phone app that will be tracking the movements of Italian citizens through Bluetooth; it will also be able to alert the people with whom one has come into contact in case someone is diagnosed with Coronavirus infection and provides an online medical record ready to be compiled.

In Italy, the project aims to reach at least 60% of citizens, a percentage under which the system does not have the positive effects desired by those who promoted it. 

But other countries around the world are also studying similar solutions.

Fortunately, in Italy, the use is optional. The software also provides for the creation of a special medical record, where the user will have to enter all the data on health habits and health status. 

All this will be archived anonymously and with respect for privacy, as declared by the actors involved.

Things that are not mentioned concerning data centralization

Aside from the fact that data is protected by privacy, which must be demonstrated in practice, what eludes an audience of non-professionals is the value of the data itself.

It will be in the possession of the companies that manage access to the servers on which it is placed.

The aggregation of clinical data and movements of people generates value, those who hold this information have power both economically and on the information itself. No matter the degree of anonymity, what matters is the control of a vast amount of data.

There are technologies such as blockchain that are able to decentralize and protect data by eliminating the middleman. Those who manage storage access could misuse or profit off our valuable data without giving us a share of the profit.

Cryptography is a field that has had very positive developments in recent years and if well used it could be useful to blur messages so that they are not readable by those who manage them, but for the moment it does not seem that such technologies are being promoted.

Information is valuable and it is up to citizens to become aware of the dangers in the IT world and to demand respect and value for it.

The Italian app Immuni and those that will be developed in the rest of the world are opening a new chapter in the “Effects of the Coronavirus” story. 

Human beings’ sensitivity to health and their fears are opening the doors to the initiatives of private individuals and politicians who are looking for creative solutions to the pandemic, but with dubious aims. 

Focusing on the effects, instead of the causes, they are leading us in the direction of control, treating the human being as a plague-spreader.

While Google and Apple are trying to make available access to data useful for the traceability of the individual without the use of a specific application to download on the mobile phone, Italy is improvising with a project that sees the praise of the privacy guarantor Antonello Soro. 

Not a word on how to strengthen our immune system, nor one on how to improve health or understand the pandemic phenomenon at a geographical level. Nothing about investing in research in the world of causes. But when it comes to control, politics always step in strongly.

Lorenzo Dalvit

Blockchain enthusiast tutor, expert in sales and marketing, social community manager, artistic director, musician, lover of disruptive paradigms and life. All my skill are about human interaction and connection

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