FPF & BrightHive Release Playbook to Create Responsible Contact Tracing Initiatives, Address Privacy & Ethics Concerns


A new playbook from the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and BrightHive, Responsible Data Use Playbook for Digital Contact Tracing, provides a series of considerations to assist stakeholders in setting up a digital contact tracing initiative to track and manage the spread of COVID-19, while addressing privacy concerns raised by these technologies in an ethical, responsible manner.

“Digital contact tracing technologies will play an instrumental role in localities’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, but these technologies – if designed, developed, and deployed without thoughtful planning – can raise privacy concerns and elevate disparities,” said FPF CEO Jules Polonetsky. “Contact tracing initiatives should take a measured approach to location tracking, data sharing, purpose limitations and proportionality. If deployed hastily, these technologies risk exacerbating existing societal inequalities, including racial, socioeconomic, and digital divides.”

As COVID-19 continues to spread through communities across the United States and abroad, public health officials are turning to digital contact tracing technologies (DCTT) as a means of tracking cases, identifying sources of transmission, and informing people who may have been exposed in order to prevent further transmission. For contact tracing to be effective, however, people must share sensitive personal information on their whereabouts or with whom they have been in close proximity so that their connections or locations can be mapped and tracked, raising ethical and privacy concerns.

“This playbook is intended to support coalitions, including public health agencies and application developers, in designing and implementing a digital contact tracing initiative,” said Natalie Evans Harris, Head of Strategic Initiatives at BrightHive. “The playbook provides a series of considerations that purposefully address privacy concerns and support the development of ethical and responsible digital contact tracing protocols.”

The playbook walks stakeholders interested in setting up a digital contact tracing initiative through a checklist of actions, from coalition-building in support of the initiative to implementation across the lifecycle of the initiative. To learn more, read the playbook.


About FPF
The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies. Learn more about FPF by visiting fpf.org.

About BrightHive

BrightHive helps organizations, networks and communities securely and responsibly link their data to enhance their impact, empower individual and collective decision making, and increase equity of opportunity. Learn more by visiting brighthive.io