Improving COVID-19 Contract Tracing in New York Through Privacy Protection
August 28, 2020
The global coronavirus has brought uncertainty and anxiety into people’s lives, workplaces, and neighborhoods, particularly for those who work to improve the health of our communities.
During this difficult time, many organizations across New York State are working tirelessly to keep people safe, especially the most vulnerable. In response, NYHealth is supporting statewide and local efforts to address emerging health care and public health needs in the wake of the pandemic. In 2020, NYHealth awarded Legal Action Center a grant to improve COVID-19 contact tracing by strengthening privacy protections for New Yorkers.
Under this grant, the Legal Action Center helped put in place privacy protections to assuage fear among New Yorkers that their contact tracing information will be shared. Legal Action Center provided technical assistance to New York State and City agencies on how to implement and improve privacy protections and comply with existing laws. It created educational and training materials for contact tracers to increase public confidence that a person’s information will only be used for public health purposes. Legal Action Center also advocated for policies that strengthen privacy protections, contributing its expertise to a statewide civil liberties coalition advising the State on protecting information gathered through contact tracing.