Have you ever walked into a store, only to have your phone alert you to deals that the store was having? How did it know?
Turns out many phones have Bluetooth Low Energry or BLE, for short. This technology transmits information like a beacon to things like stores or other physical places, but also to other phones.
Now imagine that your phone could alert other phones that are nearby that the user of the phone had a confirmed diagnosis for COVID-19. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
That’s the premise of a new article by Christopher Luise, Co-CEO at Adnet Technologies, LLC here in Connecticut that I was able to co-write with him.
The ability to do contact tracing digitally — that is, identify people who are carrying infectious diseases and the people they may have exposed — is something being seriously explored by several technology companies in the United States. It is already being implemented in Australia and Singapore, to name a few.
For employers, there is a real, credible need for the technology. Employers could identify specific individuals who may have been exposed and get isolate them early to keep the rest of the workplace safe. But the technology has the potential to be misused as well.
There are some existing laws that may be implicated too. Employers that are monitoring such data may have to alert the employees under Connecticut’s Electronic Monitoring Act. And privacy laws are certainly in play too.
I highly recommend the article and sharing it with your CIO or IT professional your company works with.
For now, it remains something to keep in mind and move conservatively in adopting this cutting-edge approach to using Bluetooth Low Energy.