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Contact tracing system with enhanced privacy protection developed

(KAIST-Yonhap)
(KAIST-Yonhap)

An upgraded contact tracing system with better protection of individual privacy has been developed, a national research university said Wednesday.

The Prevention System for Pandemic Disease Infection (PreSPI) uses the global positioning system, wireless local area network, Bluetooth, barometer and accelerometer built into most modern smartphones to follow the movement of individuals, according to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

The data collected from the "blackbox" of a phone will only be held in a so-called signal form, without any place names, with access being given to health authorities who need such information in their quarantine work to stem the spread of COVID-19.

KAIST added that all information managed by PreSPI will be automatically erased two weeks after it is created.

Currently, South Korea's health authorities rely on credit card purchase records, public surveillance cameras and other related data, to track potential virus cases. This is time-consuming and has fueled privacy concerns. 

A specially created app will allow people to quickly and accurately determine if they have unknowingly come into close contact with infected persons.

In addition, the new system has a epidemiological investigation tool, permitting health and quarantine workers to trace the movement of an infected person on a map and to track people inside buildings in certain cases. (Yonhap)
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