Contact tracing apps for COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges and potential

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread with increased fatalities around the world and has become an international public health crisis. Public health authorities in many countries have introduced contact tracing apps to track and trace infected persons as part of measures to contain the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, there are major concerns about its efficacy and privacy with affects mass acceptance amongst a population. This review encompasses the current challenges facing this technology in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in neo-liberal societies. We explore and discuss the plausibility for abuse of user privacy rights as such apps collect private user data and can be repurposed by governments for surveillance on their citizens. Other challenges identified and discussed include ethical issues, security vulnerabilities, user behavior and participation, and technical constraints. Finally, in the analysis of this review, recommendations to address these challenges and considerations in the use of less invasive digital contact tracing technologies for future pandemics are presented. For policy makers in neo-liberal societies, this study provides an in-depth review of issues that must be addressed, highlights recommendations to improve the efficacy of such apps, and could facilitate mass acceptance amongst users.
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