US states call on Google and Apple to enable GPS use for contact tracing

According to a Reuters report, US states that are pioneering contact tracing apps (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah) called on Apple and Google to allow public health authorities to use both GPS and Bluetooth to combat the Coronavirus outbreak efficiently. North and South Dakota introduced an app called Care19 that utilised anonymised GPS location data in its early version, and 40 000 people in the two states have signed up for the app. Utah rolled out the Healthy Together contact tracing app that collects location data. The state hopes that Apple and Google do not force them to drop the functionality. These states use location data to make policy decisions to transition from ‘a broad-based “everything is shut down” to a more targeted approach,’ said Jared Allgood, chief strategy officer for Twenty, the company that developed Utah’s contact tracing app. Privacy experts opposed to location data collection, are concerned that location data related to health issues could make businesses and individuals vulnerable to being ostracised if the data is leaked.