Apparently you’ll share your data to stop coronavirus – CNET


James Martin/CNET

Beyond the masks, distancing and the development of an eventual vaccine, the novel coronavirus is being fought on the streets with data: Who has it and who have they been in contact with? But people are pushing back on the idea of contact tracing in an era when many of us have had enough of the ways technology tracks us. Now what? 

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Jennifer Kent is Senior Director at Parks Associates, a consumer research firm with an emphasis on connected health


Parks Associates has just completed a survey of consumers’ willingness to share phone data to help control COVID-19. 52% said they would be, and another 20% said yes if they were afforded at least one basic assurance, like making the process opt-in or anonymized. “It’s pretty strong validation that this could be an option that some consumers are willing to do,” says Jennifer Kent, Senior Director at Parks Associates. “For this moment, for this purpose, it’s something that a lot of consumers are open to.” 

One of the strongest predictors of a person’s willingness to have their contacts traced is whether they know someone with the virus, even if that person isn’t sick. “If you know somebody in your social circle who has tested positive for COVID-19, you’re much more willing to share your data,” says Kent. “And as the pandemic continues on, there will be a higher percentage of the population that knows somebody who has tested positive.” Parks found that about 7% of their respondents knew someone with the virus in March, a number which rose to 35% of respondents by May.

Jennifer Kent shared many more COVID-19 data insights with Brian Cooley, see them all in the video above. 


Now What is a video interview series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers trends impacting businesses and consumers amid the “new normal.” There will always be change in our world, and we’ll be here to discuss how to navigate it all.