The current pandemic has come at a pivotal time in the evolution of digital systems.  We now can understand and manage the crisis like never before.  Networked devices and systems that can help track, understand and predict viral transmission.  Big data analytics approaches can help policymakers design appropriate society-scale responses, and assess not only the risks to life and health of the virus itself, but also the economic impacts of different policy actions such as shelter-in-place, social distancing, face mask requirements, and other interventions.  Yet ultimately these models are driven by very personal data: where you have been, who you have been proximate to, and what your various health attributes are (ranging from underlying conditions, like asthma, to recent test results from blood tests).  
Could your personal data save your life?
The personal data revolution was a long time in coming and has been accelerated by widespread consumer adoption of connected devices.  Smartphones, in particular, are packed with sensors and radios to link personal, individual data (ranging from location to heartrate) into cloud-based systems that can rapidly and readily aggregate information from hundreds of millions of people into population-scale analyses.  The rise of technology oligopolies, such as the mobile operating system duopoly of Apple and Google, mean that two decision-makers can access data on most of the world’s population.  When we add platform players like Ali Baba and Facebook on top of the devices, and network providers like Vodafone or Orange or China Telecom or Reliance Geo, we have near-ubiquitous coverage of billions of people.
Today, that data is relatively siloed, particularly when we try to integrate it with health data such as electronic medical records.  Until 2020 there were a growing body of personal data privacy laws and regulations arising around the world, from the GDPR in Europe to the CCPA and

View Entire Article on