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In “Paper Hearing,” Experts Debate Digital Contact Tracing and Coronavirus Privacy Concerns

On April 17, the Senate Commerce Committee wrapped up one of the body’s first-ever “paper hearings”—a new format adopted in response to the coronavirus crisis, which relied entirely on written questions and answers rather than live testimony. Perhaps appropriately for a hearing conducted in a novel format to prevent the spread of disease, the hearing concerned the role of big data in combating the coronavirus pandemic and the privacy concerns such measures may raise. The hearing featured testimony from private experts who debated the effectiveness of digital contact-tracing efforts and other initiatives using big data to understand the spread of the virus and how to contain it.

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