IntelliDyne brings you a weekly digest of some of the latest news and insights about COVID-19, how federal agencies and IT officials are dealing with the pandemic, and best practices in order to bolster security and privacy in teleworking environments and encourage improved communications.
AI Can Battle Coronavirus, But Privacy Shouldn’t Be a Casualty
In the wake of coronavirus, governments around the world are turning to AI tools to advance medical research and manage public health, with South Korea a notable driver of these efforts. In this article, Philip N. Howard and Lisa-Maria Neudert of Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute discuss how AI is being used to build COVID-19 technical solutions for contact tracing, symptom tracking, immunity certificates, and other applications.
While Howard and Nuedert recognize that AI-driven applications and anonymized personal data could be valuable in the fight against coronavirus, they also state that “[t]he potential benefits weigh heavy, but so do concerns about the abuse and misuse of these applications.” Some of the solutions to respecting privacy include decentralization of data gathering and using AI applications as public applications.
Opinion: The Effect of COVID-19 on Government Contracting
In early April, Rich Beutel, an IT acquisition management and cloud policy columnist, wrote a column in Federal News Network on how the federal contracting field and supply chain may change as a result of COVID-19. He suggests a number of changes on the horizon, including reassessment of basic supply chain structures to reinforce the defense industrial base; government prioritization of US-based manufacturing of national security-based supplies; localization of IT research and development to the continental United States (CONUS); and a new push for data localization and requirements that government data be stored and utilized only upon CONUS-based platforms.
Legal Updates Relating to Government Contracting During COVID-19
Earlier this spring, the BakerHostetler law firm issued an advisory on recent trends affecting government contractors in support of the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their advisory includes updates on mandatory prioritized contracts within the Defense Priority Allocation System; informal government change orders in which the government may direct unilateral changes to an existing contract under the contract’s changes clause; and the applicability of excusable delay clauses, such as force majeure clauses in government contracts.
Apple’s COVID-19 Exposure Notification API in iOS: Privacy vs Efficacy
In late May, Apple announced the release of iOS 13.5 and a feature that aims to help prevent the spread of COVID-19: an Apple/Google contact tracing API for developers and state health agencies. With development activity like this, privacy concerns are usually right around the corner.
Macworld notes that the Google/Apple exposure notification API protects user privacy in many ways: user data is not uploaded to a central server, user identities are never shared, and updated privacy settings allow users to prevent logging of COVID-19 tracing data.