Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Privacy, tech issues stifle potential for COVID-19 tracking apps


Michael Sohn – Associated Press

Germany unveiled a tracker app in mid-June, using platforms that Apple and Google collectively created and enabled on their mobile devices. But a survey this month in Germany showed that more than half of respondents either didn't have a phone or didn't want to use the tracking app.

Struggles by HealthPartners to get a COVID-19 crowdsourcing app in broad use reflect the difficulties of using mobile device technology to trace the course of the pandemic across the U.S.

The Bloomington-based health system launched SafeDistance on April 17, relying largely on users to input information that could indicate the risk levels of COVID-19 down to the neighborhood. And it has worked, too, with users anonymously reporting when they have respiratory symptoms, and the app then identifying their neighborhoods as risk zones for others.

"With this crowdsourced data, you can ... get ahead and be more predictive of where things are going to develop," said Brian Krohn, a developer at Modern Logic, which created SafeDistance.


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