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Understanding GVG’s COVID-19 Tracker: An Interview

Understanding GVG’s COVID-19 Tracker: An interview

The COVID-19 virus has travelled far and wide in a matter of weeks, its spread facilitated by population movements, inside and outside countries. As a result, the access to mobility data is crucial for governments to understand the disease’s spread trajectories. GVG anticipated this need for reliable and accurate data and developed COVID-19 Tracker to support governments in their fight against COVID-19. Raul Vahisalu, GVG’s VP of Technology, answers a few questions.

What is GVG’s COVID-19 Tracker?

GVG’s COVID-19 Tracker is a technical and analytical system the purpose of which is to collect mobility data to provide governments, relevant authorities and response teams with a better understanding of the disease’s spread trajectories within a given country, which in turn will allow for effective action and impact assessment.

The solution acts as a centralized repository of reliable data gathered from a comprehensive number of sources, such as the mobile network operators (MNOs), health centers and assessment teams.

What are its main capabilities?

Thanks to its population mobility pattern analysis and contact tracing capacities, which involve both healthy individuals and those who tested positive for the virus, COVID-19 Tracker allows the government of a given country to draft a national picture of the pandemic. Its predictive analysis feature also makes it possible to anticipate the way in which the virus may spread within the country. All the statistics produced by the solution in connection with the spread of the virus can be shared with the relevant authorities, for decision-making purposes.

Does the system rely on subscriber data? Can you confirm that personal data is secured?

This is a very important question. Citizens may justifiably be concerned about the security of their data and about the use the government will make of it. GVG’s COVID-19 Tracker allows for the full anonymization of private data. The latter is used for the sole purpose of tracking the location and movements of large groups of anonymized people and is both monitored and stored in the country, with strict access parameters managed by the relevant authority.

Numerous Data Protection Inspectorates have noted that, due to the overwhelming public interest in preventing the spread of the virus, and if the purposefulness and appropriateness of data use is guaranteed, then such a release of data is legitimate.

What differentiates COVID-19 Tracker from the solutions provided by multinational OTT companies?

Unlike the solutions provided by multinational OTT companies, COVID-19 Tracker uses location data received from the MNOs, who always have access to their subscribers’ location data when their mobile phones are switched on. Therefore, our solution uses more reliable data, for enhanced results. It also has advantages from a legal point of view, given the fact that it is made available to governments for them to use in accordance with their own privacy laws. As a result, the beneficiary governments will have full control over data access, and the collected data will be stored in the country, without the risk of it being sold to other entities and organisations.

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