USENIX Security '21 - People Count: Contact Tracing Apps and Public Health
Susan Landau, Tufts University
Dr. Anthony Fauci ticked off the timeline: "First notice at the end of December, hit China in January, hit the rest of the world in February, March, April, May, early June." COVID spread like wildfire. This disease turned out to be Fauci's "worst nightmare."
Pandemics end because we shut down the infection source, eradicate it, or vaccinate against it. But if these techniques don't work, then we contact trace. For COVID-19, a disease that spreads presymptomically and respiratorily, contact-tracing apps seem to be an optimal way to harness technology in stopping spread.
Apps were launched in Singapore beginning in March 2020, privacy-protective apps made their appearance in Europe and the US beginning in June. In some locations, the apps are effectively required, but where they are not, adoption is low. What's going on? Are the apps efficacious? And if so, why aren't they being used?
Is this a security failure? A privacy failure? A usability issue? The next pandemic will be different from COVID-19. Now is the time to learn what medical and social interventions we should make.
View the full USENIX Security '21 Program at https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity21/technical-sessions