How to use Digital to fight Covid-19? Move from Contact tracing to empowering people
Over the past weeks, there has been an unprecedented rise in the progression of Covid-19 globally. As it stands, today’s numbers are north of 300,000 infections with almost all regions of the world affected by the pandemic. Significantly, all the geographies are starting to experience the level-3, community spread. This is the time when the exponential progression of the virus happens, and countries have been forced to shut down normal life. This is having an extraordinary emotional and economic impact on the citizens.
To combat this situation, multiple digital solutions are being tried. One key aspect the government wants to know is the contact vector of people who have been infected with the virus. Using the location data, automatically gathered from mobile phones, is an immediate option that springs to mind. But unobscured access to and use of this data obviously raises privacy and security concerns for the individual.
One attempt to get around this problem has been the approach to use proximity sensors like Bluetooth and develop close-loop apps. In this model contact information is automatically shared between the participants of the app when they are in the proximity radius and stored in their respective mobile phones. Information is then made available to the governmental authorities, on an as-needed basis, either when the citizen falls ill or as requested by the government. While this approach certainly solves the privacy issue, the model has multiple pitfalls:
- Citizens need to be co-located and be part of the app network for contact tracing. While this a good ‘early detection’ strategy, it is not practical once community spread starts.
- Lack of location information will make geofencing hard to implement
- Generation of dynamic heatmaps and resource allocation by the government is infeasible
- Cannot support the risk-mitigated movement by citizens based on dynamic route maps
- Loss of device permanently destroys the information
So, the use of proximity sensor-based contact sharing without the collection of location information is a short-term solution to address the problem of ‘human forgetfulness’. It is not a complete solution to handle the crisis.
But the approach has some merits in some contexts if implemented aggressively. One of the prime examples of the model is the ‘Trace Together’ app released by the Singapore government. The app has worked very well due to the brilliant enforcement by the government of Singapore. Also, the smaller size of the geography makes ubiquitous coverage using Bluetooth Beacons a possibility — not an option for larger countries.
Also, as time progresses, the pandemic is making some significant socio-economic model changes which may become a ‘way of life’ for some time to come, I agree with Gideon in his article in the MIT Technology Review.
So, what we need is a comprehensive digital solution that will help citizens, government, and health care workers to confidently and securely navigate the dynamically spreading virus vector. We need a robust digital companion that will privately & securely use location data to:
- Reduce governance risk
- Increase Citizen’s confidence
- Enable and support health care fraternity.
We need to:
- Enable automatic collection of accurate location data
- Be able to share the needed relevant data on a permissioned basis to the authorities and health care workers
- Use data science on this information to develop ‘safe routes’, ‘resource allocation models’, ‘quarantine zones’ etc.
- Provide the ability for a user to privately and securely control & manage the data
Tracy, the digital companion application, based on MoiBit decentralized storage is such an app. Tracy is an app for contact tracing, safe movement and digitally enabling government, citizens, and medical professionals on top of MoiBit, by privately and securely using location data.
Tracy creates an anxiety-free and risk-mitigated environment for administrators, citizens, and healthcare using privacy-first digital technologies.
Tracy addresses privacy concerns by allowing people to safely and confidently share information without compromising privacy. Task forces get access to location data that is stripped of PII (personal identifier information) and can apply business rules to intervene in specific cases.
Tracy uses data sciences on top of decentralized private datastore, to enable intelligent enforcement between government and citizens, reduce social anxiety, and increase economic activity through risk-mitigated social participation.
Tracy enables all of this by provisioning a ZKP enabled personal wallet on the MoiBit decentralized storage network for all users. The data is cryptographically protected and in complete control of the user, all the time; accessed & managed easily using one’s mobile number.
So, let us own our data, and still help the community. Let us stay connected, and still, enjoy privacy.
Let us get our life back. Use Tracy. Be Safe Keep Moving.
About Aicumen Technologies:
Aicumen Technologies is a US-based firm Empowering value creation in the digital economy by building trusted distributed intelligent applications using Blockchain + AI. Founded in 2017, Aicumen has launched the private beta for two of its products including MóiBit and Finets. Aicumen is also involved in research and development of the Krama Intelligence Protocol. Aicumen is recently spearheading the global effort to build, Tracy, the privacy enabled digital app to fight the Covid-19 virus.
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