As Jared Kushner’s Task Forces Pushes For National Surveillance On Outbreak, Privacy Critics Try To Hold The Line
Health privacy laws already grant broad exceptions for national security purposes, but critics see a national database containing sensitive health data as a step too far, comparing it to the Patriot Act enacted after the 9/11 attacks.
Kushner’s Team Seeks National Coronavirus Surveillance System
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s task force has reached out to a range of health technology companies about creating a national coronavirus surveillance system to give the government a near real-time view of where patients are seeking treatment and for what, and whether hospitals can accommodate them, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions. The proposed national network could help determine which areas of the country can safely relax social-distancing rules and which should remain vigilant. But it would also represent a significant expansion of government use of individual patient data, forcing a new reckoning over privacy limits amid a national crisis. (Cancryn, 4/7)
Will We Give Up Privacy For Security After Covid-19?
In a span of weeks, the novel coronavirus has turned the nation’s roiling health privacy debate on its head. Concerns about what Google and Facebook might be doing with patients’ sensitive health information have receded, and instead, Americans are being asked to allow surveillance of their daily movements and contacts, and even their temperature and other physiological changes. By tapping into people’s phones and medical records, researchers and public health authorities are hoping to more swiftly identify and isolate potentially infected patients and corral a pandemic that is outrunning them despite unprecedented restrictions on daily life. (Ross, 4/8)