l COVID-19 Contact Tracing

COVID-19 Contact Tracing:
An overview

Bryan Neil Jones
Library Freedom Project
Nashville Public Library

What is contact tracing?

What has been proposed?

Apple & Google Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing
Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing
Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing
Tracio Secretum!

How does it work?

Phones exchange random codes via bluetooth
Positives are downloaded to health officials
Only health authorities can confirm a positive
Automated notification of proximity
Phase 1--an app; Phase 2--system update

What are the concerns?

Will this even work?

Free & open source
Universal testing
Universal adoption

Shortage of PPE and no quick testing
Innumerable false hits

Are there more concerns?

It relies on phones
It's voluntary
Security flaws
It's voluntary?

The world is on fire.

I librarians right now
Choose Privacy Week


  • Apple and Google Announced a Coronavirus Tracking System. How Worried Should We Be? (n.d.). American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved April 23, 2020, from https://www.aclu.org/news/privacy-technology/apple-and-google-announced-a-coronavirus-tracking-system-how-worried-should-we-be/
  • Brandom, R. (2020, April 10). Apple and Google are building a coronavirus tracking system into iOS and Android. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/10/21216484/google-apple-coronavirus-contract-tracing-bluetooth-location-tracking-data-app
  • Contact Tracing in the Real World | Light Blue Touchpaper. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2020, from https://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2020/04/12/contact-tracing-in-the-real-world/
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  • Moxie Marlinspike on Twitter: “All that aside, these APIs are novel in terms of what becomes possible from the app layer. I’m not super optimistic about opt-in contact tracing becoming a major factor, but I do kind of anticipate that someone will end up using this for some other interesting thing.” / Twitter. (n.d.). Twitter. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://twitter.com/moxie/status/1248707323729563648
  • PACT: Private Automated Contact Tracing. (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://pact.mit.edu/
  • Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing—Apple and Google. (n.d.). Apple. Retrieved April 29, 2020, from https://www.apple.com/covid19/contacttracing
  • The Lawfare Podcast: Is Contact Tracing a Privacy Threat? (2020, April 18). Lawfare. https://www.lawfareblog.com/lawfare-podcast-contact-tracing-privacy-threat
  • Tolliver, S. (2020, April 21). How human-centered tech can beat COVID-19 through contact tracing [Text]. TheHill. https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/493648-how-human-centered-technology-can-beat-covid-19-through-contact-tracing
  • Tracking and Tracing COVID Protecting privacy and data while using apps and biometrics—OECD. (n.d.-a). Retrieved April 23, 2020, from https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=129_129655-7db0lu7dto&title=Tracking-and-Tracing-COVID-Protecting-privacy-and-data-while-using