César Ferradas

Privacy-first contact tracing technology

15 May 2020

In order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus while easing the restrictions on our freedom, we’re probably going to need a “contact tracing” technology of some sort.

Governments across the world currently propose building an app on your phone that informs the health services who you’ve been in contact with.

But the people I’ve spoken to, not necessarily privacy-aware individuals, all seem skeptical about giving out your location history and contacts to a government entity.

Luckily, there is a way to both perform contact tracing and protect our privacy. Technology to the rescue!

This comic by Nicky Case perfectly explains how this can be achieved:

Contact Tracing Comic

Two protocols have already been developed to achieve private contact tracing: Temporary Contact Numbers and Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing.

We should push for one of these to become the standard protocol for contact tracing technologies developed worldwide.

Our governments don’t need to know our location or even who we were in contact with to keep us safe from COVID-19.