Contact tracing is a public health strategy used to control the spread of an infectious disease. It involves government surveillance of individuals who pose a risk to the community through in-person social interaction. Communication and information technologies play a role in the contact tracing process. In some countries, an individual’s cell phone, credit card, and other private data are used to discern mobility patterns and close contacts. To degrees differing from country to country, this information may be publicly disclosed. This presentation will look at the ways that contact tracing has been conducted in the United States and other countries and discuss privacy issues that emerge during a public health crisis when contact tracing strategies are employed. Citizen surveillance of peers using available public health data and social media will also be discussed.
Kevin Y. Kawamoto is a lecturer in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work with a specialization in gerontology and is an affiliate graduate faculty member in the School of Communications, where he received his M.A. in Communication in 1987. He has previously held positions as associate professor and assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and the University of Washington respectively, and was the technology studies manager in the mid-1990s at The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center when it was located at Columbia University in New York City. He was a graduate degree fellow at the East-West Center and a Crown Prince Akihito Scholar while studying in Japan. He is interested in ways that technology can enhance aging-in-place among elders and improve the caregiving relationship. His M.S.W. and Ph.D. are from the University of Washington.