WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc’s Google is exploring ways to use location information to slow the spread of the coronavirus by, for example, determining the effectiveness of social distancing.
U.S. Senator Ed Markey, who has long championed consumer privacy, urged caution with the government’s efforts to partner with big tech companies to track the coronavirus.
In a letter to Michael Kratsios, the White House’s chief technology officer, Markey cited a Washington Post report that said the government had discussions with Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) , Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:) , Alphabet Inc’s Google, IBM (NYSE:) Corp and other tech companies to discuss potentially using smartphone location data as a research tool as the virus spreads in the United States.
“We need assurances that collection and processing of these types of information, even if aggregated and anonymized, do not pose safety and privacy…