Google has come up with a platform for helping the public maintain safety against COVID-19. The company has introduced a mobile app known as the “Covid-19 mobile app” which is available on all mobile handsets.
The application is able to detect if the subscriber has been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The app allows the mobile users to subscribe and hence use a Bluetooth technology which basically works on a short-range wireless network. Two mobile subscribers are able to exchange messages while they are in short proximity and they have their Bluetooth on and they are close to each other.
Once an app update has been done by the subscribers and they get to be close to each other, if one is positive then an alert will pop up on the next subscriber’s handset and the subscriber will be required to self-quarantine.
The biggest question is how safe is this app? The data breach is the biggest risk behind this new technology. What if this data as pertains to the positive cases is hacked and later on leaked on the Internet? Violation of the patient’s confidentiality would be termed as a criminal offense and this is a huge risk for the patients who have tested positive.
The other risk would be the misuse of data and records by the institution that collects it. Personnel may pick the data as disclosed by the mobile subscribers and use it for other purposes other than the one authorized.
The other risk is in regard to the data updates. How accurate is the system to reflect a change in the status of the victim from positive to negative? How safe is this system against hackers and scammers who might invade the system and fake data?
If all these risks are not well addressed, the app may end up bringing more trauma, panic, and confusion to the public rather than solving the entire problem.