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Tech Trend Update: If Contact Tracing Then Distributed Trust

Exploring a decentralized solution to foster trust toward a crucial public health technology tool.

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  • Ann Cavoukian, Executive Director, Global Privacy & Security by Design Centre, Ryerson University
  • Dan DeMers, CEO, Cinchy
  • Mathias Payer, HexHive Group Leader, EPFL School of Computer and Communications Sciences

With COVID-19's rapid spread through populations, governments are looking for technology tools that can augment the efforts of manual contact tracing processes. How the system is designed is crucial to a positive outcome.

  • CIOs must understand how distributed trust principles achieve embedded privacy and help encourage user adoption.
  • CEOs must consider how society's waning trust in institutions affects the way they engage their customers.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Mobile contact tracing apps that use a decentralized design approach will be the most likely to be adopted by a wide swath of the population.

Impact and Result

There are some key considerations to realize from the way different governments are approaching contact tracing:

  1. If centralized, then seek to ensure privacy protections.
  2. If decentralized, then seek to enable collaboration.
  3. In either case, put in place data governance to create trust.

Research & Tools

Learn why distributed trust is becoming critical to technology systems design

Understand the differences between mobile app architectures available to developers and how to achieve success in implementation based on your goals.

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