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Amid reports that US President Donald Trump is seeking to create a national coronavirus surveillance system, Sen. Edward J. Markey has urged for the government to refrain from causing harm by invading privacy. While Markey said technology and data should be used in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he said Thursday such a system could use “highly sensitive information about Americans.”

The letter follows reports Tuesday that White House senior adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s task force is seeking to set up a national coronavirus surveillance system. It would include easing data-sharing rules from health companies and federal and state officials, according to Politico citing an unnamed source, and would be used to make decisions on allocating federal resources and medical equipment to hospitals and health care centers.

“The components revealed to date point to deeply troubling privacy risks,” the senator’s letter to Trump says. Markey urged the government to use community data but not personalized information, arguing it could lead to discrimination based on medical conditions.

Sen. Markey has asked Trump for detail on the project; whether it will end when the coronavirus pandemic is over; which private entities the administration is in contact with over the system; how the data will be collected, maintained, accessed, stored and disposed of; whether there will be regular reports to Congress on the system; external review of privacy and security risks; and whether the system will protect against health privacy invasions for LGBTQ individuals, racial minorities, those with disabilities and low-income individuals.

Markey also spoke out against COVID-19 tracking efforts last month, saying they pose a privacy risk.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.



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