The Future of Surveillance


The cove in nineteen pandemic is changing our lives in so many ways. And what's going to happen in? The future is still unclear. Are we going to have to download APPS? Will those under quarantine have to wear responds? Will we BE SCANNED FOR FEVERS? Every time we step into an office or restaurant I've been hearing all sorts of questions like these so I wanted to speak with Jennifer nozoe. She's an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. I wanted to know what role technology might play in our fight against this pandemic. Could we soon be using these contact tracing APPs here in the United States I think it's inevitable and in fact it's actually already happening? That public health agencies are going to use APPS to help them conduct contact tracing whether these APPs fundamentally change tact tracing is done remains to be seen. I personally it would be a little bit worried if we used APPs instead of people. It's not clear to me that we would get better data that way. The question is how are we going to use it? And what features of the technology are we going to use? It's one thing to use it to keep track of data and to help you analyzed data. It's another thing to use it to figure out exactly where someone's been over the last fourteen days and I think there are some important operational questions that need to be answered about those approaches as well as some potential legal and ethical questions we do use contact tracing in this country for other diseases. A lot of people are hearing this term for the first time but with foodborne illnesses and things like that. That already happens right yeah. It's a traditional tool of public health. Tr- instance in tuberculosis outbreaks measles outbreaks. And there is You know case investigations that happened with Woodward outbreaks to I would say the frequency with which it's used has probably decreased in recent years purely due to resources it's incredibly resource intensive to do contact tracing as public health departments over recent years have suffered budget cuts and declining resources their abilities to do contact tracing has declined and that's I think one of the unfortunate kind of preparedness erosions that we've seen over time that we're now in the midst of a pandemic trying to make up for by hiring possibly hundreds of thousands of new contact tracers when you think about the APP based technologies again in merging that with some of these human contact tracers to help supplement that sort of work. Can you give some idea of what life would look like then so there are a few different approaches? There's one method where the phone tracks your movement things off of Cell Towers and it knows where you've been and authorities potentially could take advantage of the ability of your phone to say where you've been to once you become a case potentially look back at where you've been for the last fourteen days and then use that to identify places where you may have exposed people to try to get in touch with people who may have also been at that same place. There are other approaches. Where you use the phone's ability to kind of tell who you've been near and to try to find people that you may have exposed that way that's seen as slightly less invasive because it's more about identifying who's been near you rather than exactly determining where you've been typically in the US and we do contact tracing it starts with an interview where you ask the patient basically remember all the places they've been when you're talking about fourteen days though it can be tough for people to remember exactly and so sometimes you have to use other methods to maybe fill in the gaps for instance for foodborne outbreaks. We try to figure out where you spend money over the last fourteen days as a proxy for where you may have been but we haven't yet in the. Us seen widespread use of the cellphone based technologies the Location Services or the more Bluetooth ones. That tell you who you've been Aaron. I think there has been some interest in potentially using these technologies but in my view these are the ones that have some questions around them in terms of public acceptability and what the limitations for their use are. So what does this mean for all of us? Are we moving toward big brother surveillance? State government officials are now calling upon Silicon Valley's tech leaders to try and help. We need to view this as an information problem when we need to come up with estimates for where the disease is and when we can find hotspots. Put Schmidt used to be the CEO of Google. Now he's leading up a fifteen member commission to help guide New York toward using new technology in the wake of Kovic. Nineteen the Google Apple. Collaboration preserves your privacy but it's completely voluntary apple and Google are collaborating to develop software that would enable Bluetooth base tracking on their devices if users opt in this data would be shared with governments and public health authorities and then there's clear view a facial recognition technology company. What we do is we have database from day one of over three billion photos. We have a mobile APP and a desktop and we also have the highest accuracy out there in the market. The company claims that they can scan public surveillance camera footage to identify people who might have been in contact with confirmed corona virus patients last month they told NBC News that they're already in talks with several state and federal agencies to help with contact tracing

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