China launched its notorious social credit system last year to watch over its own citizens and mete out punishment based on personal behavior and loyalty to the Communist Party.
Now three prominent U.S. universities are using taxpayer money to create a similar type of surveillance network designed to monitor Americans and assign them scores based on their exposure to the Wuhan coronavirus.
Tech news outlet dot.LA recently reported that researchers at the University of Southern California, Emory University, and the University of Texas Health Science Center have received a federal grant to create a mobile app for contact tracing the novel coronavirus. The system will track a person’s real-time location and symptoms, and calculate a personal COVID-19 risk score.
USC’s Cyrus Shahabi, chair of the computer science department, told dot.LA that the universities hope to have a working mobile app by August, in time for the start of the fall semester. He said policymakers could use the system to warn the public to avoid hotspots of infection.
In other instances, people who have been assigned high personal risk scores might decide to stay home or get tested for COVID-19.
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