GOP Sen. Cassidy Proposes Using ‘Big Data’ Google, AT&T, Verizon to Track Coronavirus Cases

Friday during an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), a licensed physician, said he agreed with assessments that efforts to track the spread of coronavirus had failed.

However, the Lousiana lawmaker argued with technology, tracking could be done, which he said would have limited the spread of the virus.

“I think Dr. Fauci’s comments yesterday that the system of tracking has failed is correct,” he said. “But we can say what is required. Again, if you look at the way that the virus infects, every one person infected, on average, infects two-and-a-half — say, two to three other people. You have to be able to track. And so, if I’m infected, go back and test everyone who I have exposed, if you will — by the way, I’m not infected as best I know, but imagine that I have been — and then trace them out.”

“Ideally, you use that with big data,” Cassidy added. “You — with HIPAA protections you get big data from Google, AT&T, Verizon and you know every place I’ve gone. If you do that — you track my contacts, you clean down places that I have been — but then those people I have exposed myself to can be tested and then keep going until you have everybody corralled. That’s what South Korea did, that’s what — that’s what Taiwan has done. Frankly, that’s what we should be doing. We should be pushing CDC to make this happen.”

Update (6:20 p.m. ET, 3/14/2020): Statement from Cassidy spox:

“I did want to point out that the data plan Dr. Cassidy is talking about would require an opt-in so that privacy and civil liberties are maintained. A person tests positive, they’re asked if they will allow their location data to be tracked to identify where other exposure might have occurred, and the patient either accepts or declines. He’s not suggesting the federal government mandate it.”

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