[ONLINE] - What Role Can Tech Play in Pandemic Response Plans?

The Potential and the Risks Posed by Contact Tracing Apps

We are seeing increasing numbers of pandemic response plans that rely on a combination of ramped up coronavirus testing and contact tracing to detect the people who need to be isolated and permit others to begin to return to life as normal. In this age of big data, these proposals seek to combine traditional public health contact tracing with digital tools. Proponents urge that smartphone applications based on Bluetooth technology may assist public health officials to conduct contact tracing at scale, but these plans have also raised a number of concerns from public health experts and privacy experts alike.

As states and localities begin planning how to open up their economies to increase public engagement with businesses and other services, questions around the efficacy of contact tracing apps will become even more prevalent. This webinar will explore what role contact tracing apps can play in the fight against the pandemic, as well as the public health, privacy, and equity issues involved. Experts from the tech industry, public health, policy making, and civil society will help in breaking down why people are looking to these apps to aid pandemic response planning and why decentralized Bluetooth apps — which still have many limitations — are better from both a public health perspective and a privacy perspective than permitting the government to collect cellphone location information.

Join New America’s Open Technology Institute on May 14, 2020 to be a part of the conversation.

Keynote Discussion:

Dr. Michael Osterholm
Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota

Panel Discussion:

Bennett Butler
Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator Ed Markey

Ali Lange

Public Policy Manager, Google

Lauren Sarkesian
Senior Policy Counsel, New America’s Open Technology Institute

Sharon Bradford Franklin (Moderator)
Policy Director, New America’s Open Technology Institute

Note: New America is committed to following privacy and security best practices when hosting remote public events. Due to our technological capabilities for large online events at this time, the event will be facilitated as a Zoom webinar, but will be streamed to YouTube so that participants do not have to use Zoom in order to view the event if they so choose. The event will use the Zoom webinar function, not the meeting function, so that no individuals other than the panelists and moderator will be able to communicate, share screens, or send messages. For any attendees who do choose to view the event over Zoom, the list of participants will only be available to New America as the host. The event will also be recorded and made available later on YouTube and New America’s website.