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Aggregated mobility data can help fight COVID-19 - safeguards needed

Aggregated mobility data can help fight COVID-19 - safeguards needed

A Letter from Health Researchers and BKC’s Urs Gasser

Aggregated mobility data could help research and public health response communities fight COVID-19—but only with legal, organizational, and computational safeguards in place, argues BKC Executive Director Urs Gasser and colleagues. 

“The estimates of aggregate flows of people are incredibly valuable. A map that examines the impact of social distancing messaging or policies on population mobility patterns, for example, will help county officials understand what kinds of messaging or policies are most effective.”

However, the letter cautions: 

“The protection of personal privacy must be paramount. Consent-based data sharing models and data protection laws provide for the legal grounds to use personal data during emergencies, but we do not advocate the use of individual data.”

Read more in Science 

Further reading: “Towards a Modern Approach to Privacy-Aware Government Data Releases” and “Open Data Privacy Playbook”

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