Who’s using Google and Facebook data in coronavirus fight?
Google and Facebook know a lot about where Americans are and where they go, and the companies also know their location data can help research the spread of coronavirus. In emails to CBS News, the companies described who can access that information to fight the disease, and how they’ll protect anonymity. Google said it considering how to use the data and stressed that users would not be identifiable. Google is “exploring ways that aggregated anonymized location information could help in the fight against COVID-19,” a company spokesperson said. “One example could be helping health authorities determine the impact of social distancing, similar to the way we show popular restaurant times and traffic patterns in Google Maps. This work would follow our stringent privacy protocols and would not involve sharing data about any individual’s location, movement, or contacts.” Facebook said it allows researchers to access raw location data to create maps that help study the spread of disease, but that the information does not reveal users’ identities.”Disease Prevention Maps have helped organizations respond to health emergencies for nearly a year and we’ve heard from a number of governments that they’re supportive of this work,” the company said. “In the coronavirus context, researchers