Your smartphone data could be used for apps that tech giants, including Alphabet's Google and Apple, are backing with supportive interfaces to track the spread of coronavirus , but should you or your family members agree to use the contact-tracing technology? Tech companies and governments around the world are working together to build mobile apps that would harness location and movement data from smartphones to determine the efficacy of social distancing and pinpoint the origin of new positive cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week released new guidance for contact-tracing apps, which will help companies build onto their joint project. "I think we would need to see a really transparent and hopefully accountable ... company to give us the confidence to say like, 'All right, yeah, we'd be willing to do this,'" said Ohanian, who is a member of the CNBC Technology Executive Council Advisory Board. Coronavirus fears could sway more users to share their data if it means ending the pandemic, but Oxford researchers say it could require more than half the total population to agree to contact tracing to be effective. "The bigger issue is the lack of trust and the fact that you're going to need to get users over the mental hurdle of being willing to have this information stored on Google or someone else's servers." Companies including Apple and Google have been moving more into the health-care sector — and becoming involved in debates over patient data — where they see big opportunities for growing use of technology. The U.K.'s National Health Service, whose app will be available within weeks, said it supports a "centralized" framework rather than a "decentralized" one used by companies like Google and Apple. A centralized approach like that of the NHS sends data to public health authorities so they can directly contact people who may have been infected. Google and Apple are developing contact-tracing technology for iPhone and Android smartphones to help stop the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
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