United States: Technology companies work with White House to control the pandemic


US government agencies are considering a range of tracking and surveillance technologies as part of efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. These include: geolocation tracking and facial recognition systems to analyse photos, both to enable contact tracing. Palantir is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to model the virus outbreak, and other companies that scrape public social media data have contracts in place with CDC and the National Institutes of Health. These efforts are being coordinated by a task force working with the White House that includes technology giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, as well as lesser-known names such as Brandwatch's Crimson Hexagon and K Health, and are struggling to find a balance between using the technology and protecting the confidentiality of patent data. In a March 15 meeting, a 45-person task force meeting considered possibilities such as how citizens could be diagnosed without visiting a doctor, and how the companies could work with CDC to meet its top priorities.