Minneapolis police confuse “contact tracing” and investigation
Concerns that contact tracing could expand to purposes beyond public health gained some weight when the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington told press that law enforcement was using “contact tracing” to investigate protesters arrested after the murder of George Floyd. Minnesota public health authorities found that Harrington actually meant they were engaging in the normal process of law enforcement investigations, and not, as he had implied, using data from Covid-19 contact tracing efforts or tools to assist the investigations. Appropriating the term in this way could serve to make people less willing to help public health contact tracing efforts, making them less effective. US Senators are considering introducing a federal bill limiting how contact tracing data and tools may be used.
Writer: Sara Morrison