The US government wants to use the information from Google and Facebook to study the behavior of the disease
The United States Government is in talks with technology companies like Facebook and Google to investigate how it could use the location data it collects from its users to combat the coronavirus, the Washington Post has learned . These two companies recently announced a joint plan (to which Linkedin, Microsoft, Reddit and Twitter also joined) to fight the virus on their platforms.
One of the measures being considered is to use this information to find out if citizens maintain a distance that allows them to stop the spread of the disease. The data could also be collected -anonymously- in order to visualize how the coronavirus moves.
In any case, both Facebook and Google would not provide data on a specific person, but aggregates, so that they serve to establish patterns or predict behaviors, as the search engine already does, for example, in its mapping application.
A few days ago, several technology companies made a video call with members of the US government to coordinate efforts in the fight against the coronavirus. In this case, the meeting was mainly about how to curb false information and hoaxes about the disease, not so much about how to use the information they collect to combat it.
In addition, Donald Trump announced an agreement with Google to create a website that helps detect cases of coronavirus. The company denied this collaboration, although shortly afterwards it presented a page where you can find information about the disease. Verily, a company from Alphabet – Google’s parent company – is working on a tool that does resemble what the president initially announced, but it seems more like a test and has a much more limited scope: it will only work in the bay area from San Francisco.