Last week, Apple and Google jointly announced a partnership to create a COVID-19 contact-tracing system that works with both iOS and Android.
During yesterday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing, President Trump commented on the Apple-Google COVID-19 contact-tracing tech:
A lot of people don’t like it from the standpoint of constitutional rights…
It’s an amazing thing, but a lot of people have some very big constitutional problems with it, you know that. It’s an amazing thing, and it would be – actually, as you know other other countries, are thinking about using something similar, but not as good… I hear Singapore is… [but] we have a constitutional thing…
We have more of a constitutional problem then a mechanical problem, but we will be making a determination on that. That’s something we’re gonna be discussing with a lot of people over the next four weeks. That would be a very accurate way of doing it, but a lot of people have a problem with it.
President Trump’s comments begin at the 2:51:13 mark.
MacDailyNews Take: So, the problem with any COVID-19 contact-tracing tech in the U.S. is obvious, it wouldn’t work very well unless almost everyone used it, but U.S. citizens cannot be compelled to install a tracking app. So, such an app would have to be opt-in and nobody in their right mind trusts Google, much less the U.S. government, to handle lightly anonymized tracking data or to ever turn off collection or delete the data post-vaccine, so opt-in rates for a contact-tracing app would be suboptimal, if not outright dismal, resulting in ineffective COVID-19 contact-tracing.
If the government tries to make having such an app active as a requirement for working, or even moving about freely, they’d very likely have very poor legal outcome in the United States.
Further, beyond the obvious constitutional rights issues, 18% of the U.S. population, nearly 1-in-5 people, do not even have a smartphone. So, with one of every 5th person roaming about by default, not to mention all of the opt-outs, contact-tracing via iOS and Android smartphones would be more of a feel-good security blanket than anything else.