Google Shares Its Users' Location Data To Help Authorities Map Lockdowns Effectiveness

  • The tech giant is publishing its user’s location data to help governments across the globe to map the effectiveness of lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Learn, what sort of data will the report contain and how it will help the governments to increase the effectiveness of lockdowns to stop the virus from spreading.
Law Enforcement Authorities have imposed lockdowns in their respective countries to encourage social distancing which is a vital factor in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Google releases a report that highlights the location data of its users which helps the governments to monitor the location of its citizens. This will allow the governments to know to which extent they are encouraging social distancing and to form new policies in this aspect.

In a blog post made by Google, the company stated that it will publish more anonymized data containing the location movements of its users from 131 countries. Google will provide insights showing the trend of citizens’ movements from time to time via geographical calculations.

A post published by Google Geo lead Jen Fitzpatrick and Google’s chief health official Karen DeSalvo says that the mobility data will depict the figures in the form of percentage points displaying the increase or decrease in the number of visits by citizens to certain locations where a crowd can gather. These locations may include parks, shops, workplaces, or other crowd gathering areas. The report will not display the actual number of people visiting a certain place. According to them, this data will help governments to design their upcoming policies in a better way to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The officials will then be able to make changes to essential trips when the citizens can come out to perform important tasks in a better way. Google maps detect the movement of traffic using the average of data collected from users who have turned on their location history from their smartphones. The company will use the same strategy to produce this report.

Google clarifies that no personal information such as contacts, or the users’ exact location will be made available in this report. To better ensure the privacy of its users, the company will also add ‘artificial noise’ to the data which will make it difficult to identify the users’ identity by others.

Countries across the globe including China, Singapore, and Israel are electronically monitoring their citizens’ locations to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Europe and the US are also getting anonymized data from tech companies to track the coronavirus outbreak. Even Germany seems to detect the smartphone data of its citizens for the same purpose.

Google Shares Its Users' Location Data To Help Policy Makers Map Lockdowns Effectiveness
Photo: 400tmax via Getty Images

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