I don’t know if this is good news or bad news for private citizens. It seems to be blend of both.
Here are a couple of quotes from an article by Mark Gurman in the Bloomberg web site with my own comments added in parenthesis:
“Apple Inc. and Google unveiled a rare partnership to add technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19. People must opt in to the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population.”
(That’s the good news: helping people become aware of exposure to the virus within minutes after encountering that exposure.)
“We caution that actions taken to contain spreading of coronavirus must also preserve the right to privacy held by each and every American,” members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives, wrote in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump. “Google’s colossal stores of data on daily movements of Americans, coupled with the might of local, state, and federal governments is an alarming prospect.”
(That’s the bad news: this level of tracking the movements of citizens makes a joke of the concept of privacy and individual rights. It makes George Orwell’s 1984 look like a kindergarten effort. If implemented, privacy of any individual could easily be defeated by corporations (Google, Facebook, etc.), governments with an easy-to-obtain court order or by identity thieves, credit card thieves, insurance companies, or anyone else who is able to hack into the databases, as has already been done many times in the past.)
For more on these issues, read Mark Gurman’s article at https://bloom.bg/2V01pu7.