Professor Brian Ray, with co-author Professor Jane Bambauer (University of Arizona), have published “Covid-19 Apps are Terrible — They Didn’t Have to Be,” on the prominent Lawfare blog. The paper was also featured in a companion Lawfare Podcast, in which Professor Alan Rozenshtein (University of Minnessota) discussed the topic with Professor Ray and Professor Bambauer.
In the paper, Professors Ray and Bambauer explain how state and federal governments, as well as private companies, “prioritiz[e]d a fetishized notion of individual privacy over collective public health,” resulting in a series of decisions that made digital contact tracing extremely ineffective in the United States. They observe, “[t]he reluctance to leverage communications technologies to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus was so strong and so pervasive that the COVID-19 apps in operation today are underpowered and undersubscribed by design.” They conclude with lessons to improve preparedness for a future public health crisis.
Professor Ray is the Leon M. and Gloria Plevin Professor of Law and director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection