Contact Tracing for the COVID-19 PandemicPublic
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Digital contact tracing applications instill public fear as they store large amounts of user information. Problems often arise as users are unsure of how their data is stored. Due to this, people are less likely to download these COVID-19 tracking applications and they become non-reliable for contact tracing. This report outlines our solution to this problem: an application that is not “scary” and intimidating for the public to use. In this project, not “scary” is defined as collecting as little user data as possible, transferring data using best encryption practices, not visually overwhelming to the user, and limiting the potential for bad actors to misuse information. To develop this application, we researched security protocols, user interface best practices, and ways to present data in easy-to-understand terminology. We then compiled this research to create Bubbles, our groundbreaking method of sharing self-reported COVID-19 information within close-knit groups, or “bubbles.” Manual contact tracing has been a useful way to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this technique is laborious and depends on the infected individual’s ability to recall their close contacts. Recently, digital contact tracing applications have emerged as a more efficient way to track close contacts. However, due to location privacy issues and the substantial amount of personal data collected, users have been less inclined to use these applications. For these applications to be useful, they must receive a higher adoption rate. In this Professional Writing Major Qualifying Project, I explore the privacy concerns of both contact tracing forms. Through research, interviews, and surveys, I conclude that privacy is the largest concern of digital contact tracing applications.
- This report represents the work of one or more WPI undergraduate students submitted to the faculty as evidence of completion of a degree requirement. WPI routinely publishes these reports on its website without editorial or peer review.
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