The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global population significantly. Most of the employees and students are working/studying from home during this difficult time. In such a situation, you need to have reliable Internet service such as Spectrum home WiFi to ensure the smooth running of various operations. Since the Internet is being used more than ever on mobile phones, governments are using them to help in battling Coronavirus.
How Can Mobile Devices Help in Combating Coronavirus?
Mobile Phones keep track of their location in several ways. They employ the cell-tower signals, the Internet signals or Global Positioning Satellite based network to do so. They also help you in connecting and sharing files and pictures with nearby devices through Bluetooth technology.
Governments can use these four resources to monitor your activities. It can monitor you to check whether you are following its orders to stay away from other people and not go out. More importantly, it can help the government in “contact tracing.” It, in turn, uses WiFi and GPS to determine if people have contacted others with the virus and developed the Coronavirus disease. This can make it easier to track such people and get them tested and isolated.
Smart mobile devices can use resources like location information and personal medical data to keep a record of health histories and develop useful resources like health scoreboard. They can also help in managing health surveys through messaging and data entry.
What Is Contact Tracing and How Is It Beneficial?
This method uses Bluetooth or GPS to combat Coronavirus. As a person comes in contact with another, his/her mobile device can log other devices that have been near it. So, in case he/she gets infected, there is already a list of people that the person has been around. So, through this technology, others will also receive notifications to get themselves tested and isolated.
This method is simple and effective and does not require a large staff to interview people. It will also keep such people safe from contracting the virus themselves. Once employed, it can play a significant role in the Coronavirus curve.
But it has its own flaws as well. This technology can detect other devices from a distance of about 15 feet and even from the other side of the wall. If a person is coughing or sneezing at a distance from you, he/she is not a serious source of danger. But tech developers have been trying to find various ways in which this problem can be solved.
The problem with GPS and cell tower is also the same. However, they are much worse than Bluetooth in terms of associating people as contacts.
Are These Methods Being Used Currently?
Singapore has already started its efforts to utilize contact tracing through Bluetooth. It has developed an app called “TraceTogether” to do so. Besides the development of a powerful surveillance system, Israel has also developed an app called “The Sheild” to track Coronavirus cases.
India, USA, China, and South Korea are using mobile location and apps to make the most of contact tracing. So, if you are a subscriber of services like Spectrum Internet plans, governments can monitor your social activities to battle the pandemic. Taiwan has also developed an app recently for contact tracing and quarantine enforcement.
Other countries like the UK are employing German teams to work with research institutions and healthcare authorities to develop high-quality apps that can help in tracking the patients and healthy people. The professionals in the USA are also working on software that can help in monitoring and combating the disease.
Apple and Google
These two powerful companies expressed their concerns about the Coronavirus situation and announced that they will be developing tools and apps that will facilitate contact tracing effectively. These apps are expected to be released in May. Besides these apps, the companies also promised to introduce tools that will help in tackling the battery drain and other mobile related issues.
They also plan to facilitate users by developing mobile software that doesn’t require apps. With pre-installed software, users can receive notification in case of contact with infected people.
What Are Some of the Security Concerns?
Governments cannot only monitor your location but also keep track of your other online activities through GPS and WiFi. However, there are no serious concerns because the government can’t identify you individually.
However, once this data reaches the government, it can keep it safe and use it to put limits on future online activities. The so-called suspicious and vulnerable groups can be monitored and controlled because of this data breach. A person’s religious or cultural affiliation is a highly personal piece of information. Luckily, the governments acknowledge this fact and urge upon the need for a warrant to access this private information.
GPS and WiFi can be risky on their own as well. For example, if you have subscribed to services such as Spectrum TV packages and are streaming your favorite content on the app while keeping the GPS on, then hackers can monitor your activities and steal your private information. The risk can increase significantly if you are using a public WiFi network.
In case a person’s mobile gets stolen, the contact details of thousands of people can become available to a stranger because of contact tracing. Therefore, it is recommended to delete logs every month.
How Can You Secure WiFi and GPS Signals?
You can take the following measures to safeguard your WiFi and GPS:
- Safeguard your router by using “Advanced settings”
- Download a reliable VPN service for end-to-end encryption
- Secure all your accounts with strong passwords
- Don’t allow gaming apps to track your location
- Turn off GPS when not required
The mobile apps and features will soon be used publicly for contact tracing and battling the Coronavirus pandemic.