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Anne Meuwese and Bart Custers in Trouw on Covid apps

The more people are vaccinated, the more society can slowly reopen. Technological developments, like the Covid passport and other apps, can play a role in this. Artificial Intelligence could help greatly in developing the vaccine passport and the Covid-19 exposure notification app, Anne Meuwese and Bart Custers claimed in Dutch newspaper Trouw on 1 April 2021.

Up to now it appears that the use of all kinds of technology aimed at helping citizens deal with the various coronavirus measures have turned out to be unfeasible. The nature of the required personal data led to so many concerns about privacy that even a relatively limited application such as the Covid exposure notification app has not been a great success. In Dutch newspaper Trouw, Meuwese (Professor of Public Law) and Custers (Professor of Law and Data Science) claim that it is likely that more advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI) could predict and trace outbreaks of coronavirus quite accurately if an algorithm had access to large amounts of data on location and health.

Although it is right to be concerned about security of data and privacy, not enough attention is given to what is possible within these boundaries. There are solutions that can provide adequate protection and are privacy friendly. The absence of AI applications in combatting the crisis shows what we could achieve if we were to invest in improvements concerning data security and privacy. Leiden University is involved in developing technology that can speed up the lifting of the coronavirus measures.

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