Privacy-By-Design in a Contact Tracing App

A Conversation with Micha Benoliel, Co-Founder of Coalition App

Nothing like a good pandemic to rapidly teach us new phrases. “Flatten the curve”, “shelter in place”, “social distancing”, “asymptomatic”, “herd immunity” are just of few of the many terms we’re all getting to know and use. Dictionary.com has compiled a list of coronavirus terms you might like to learn them or confirm you already know. (don’t feel smug about that!)

Contact tracing is a term that will be increasingly important as we search for ways to safely resume social activities. I recently had a chance to speak with Micha Benoliel who co-founded the non-profit Coalition Network. Benoliel and his team have been working on decentralized, Bluetooth-based networks for 10 years and in 2014 produced a mesh network phone messaging app, FireChat. This messaging app lets users communicate without an internet connection by connecting phone to phone. (that’s the decentralized part of it). Originally launched for Burning Man, it was quickly adopted by the protest movements in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

This same team, now working under the non-profit company, Coalition Network, quickly developed a ‘privacy-first’ contact tracing app, Coalition. Listen to how Micha Benoliel explains how a privacy-by-design or privacy-first app works. We all need to understand contact tracing and how the inherent risks to privacy can be mitigated.

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