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For Immediate Release

Press Release

ACLU Comment on Apple/Google COVID-19 Contact Tracing App

WASHINGTON -

Apple and Google today announced a joint contact tracing app using Bluetooth technology. Below is comment from Jennifer Granick, ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel, in response:

"No contact tracing app can be fully effective until there is widespread, free, and quick testing and equitable access to healthcare. These systems also can’t be effective if people don’t trust them. People will only trust these systems if they protect privacy, remain voluntary, and store data on an individual's device, not a centralized repository. At the same time, we must be realistic that such contact tracing methods are likely to exclude many vulnerable members of society who lack access to technology and are already being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

"To their credit, Apple and Google have announced an approach that appears to mitigate the worst privacy and centralization risks, but there is still room for improvement. We will remain vigilant moving forward to make sure any contract tracing app remains voluntary and decentralized, and used only for public health purposes and only for the duration of this pandemic."

As you may have seen, we recently released a white paper on the limits of location tracking technology to address the pandemic. That paper is here: https://www.aclu.org/aclu-white-paper-limits-location-tracking-epidemic.

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The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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