In the midst of a crisis, when tensions are running high, tech and government officials are struggling to find a balance between deploying technology and keeping patients’ data safe. Meanwhile, will the internet be able to bear the extra strain of so many people working from home? And Facebook’s algorithm is flagging coronavirus posts even when they’re not spam.
The Wall Street Journal: To Track Virus, Governments Weigh Surveillance Tools That Push Privacy Limits
As the country scrambles to control the rapidly spreading coronavirus, government agencies are putting in place or considering a range of tracking and surveillance technologies that test the limits of personal privacy. The technologies include everything from geolocation tracking that can monitor the locations of people through their phones to facial-recognition systems that can analyze photos to determine who might have come into contact with individuals who later tested positive for the virus, according to people familiar with the matter. (Grind, McMillan and Wilde Mathews, 3/17)
Politico: Big Tech Faces A ‘Big Brother’ Trap On Coronavirus
As the federal government shifts into an all-hands-on-deck fight to battle coronavirus, President Trump and his White House have increasingly called on tech companies to lend a hand. The companies are in conversations with government about to leverage their might and reach; the Trump White House held a conference call last week to talk about what they can do to help, from helping analyze scholarly research to pulling down misinformation on the virus. For the tech giants, this plea represents a huge opportunity to get back in the public’s good graces, as an industry whose image has taken a beating is being asked, even urged, to step up in a moment of national emergency. (Scola, 3/18)
Politico: Coronavirus Is Forcing People To Work From Home. Will It Break The Internet?
As soon as Konrad Iturbe started working from home, he ran into problems. Sitting in his shared apartment in a northern suburb of Barcelona, the 20-year-old app developer saw his internet speeds fall off a cliff soon after the country entered a two-week shutdown on Saturday because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Scott, Cerulus and Delcker, 3/17)
The Associated Press: Facebook Bug Wrongly Deleted Authentic Coronavirus News
Facebook said a bug in its anti-spam system temporarily blocked the publication of links to news stories about the coronavirus. Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said on Twitter Tuesday that the company was working on a fix for the problem. Users complained that links to news stories about school closings and other information related to the virus outbreak were blocked by the company’s automated system. (3/18)
ABC News: Facing Coronavirus Pandemic, US Confronts Cyberattacks
The United States, already dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, is also being targeted for cyberattacks and foreign disinformation campaigns, as federal officials feared. Multiple sources confirmed to ABC News in recent days that both the efforts that slowed computer systems at the Health and Human Services Department Sunday night and the weekend rash of bogus text messages warning a national quarantine is imminent were the products of foreign actors or components of foreign governments or entities connected to them. (Dukakis, Meek, Levine, Barr and Margolin, 3/17)
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