Mobile apps may help track the spread of COVID-19, but at what cost to data privacy?

"“It’s absolutely a way to leverage the technology in phones in a way that will benefit public health,” says Northeastern University law professor Woodrow Hartzog, who specializes in privacy and data protection law.

But privacy activists warn that the apps—and the personal information they collect—could be abused. Addressing such concerns, Hartzog says, is critical to making contact-tracing apps a success. “If we don’t do it right, we risk dampening people’s willingness to engage,” he says. “The pandemic’s not going to last forever, but the data that’s collected from the pandemic might. Until they feel protected, people are going to be reluctant to participate and share—and rightfully so.”"