Alphabet Inc’s subsidiary Google is looking into the location data of its users for the month of March. Because it will help to identify individuals who visited shops, parks, and workplaces when governments issued stay-at-home orders. To curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Analysis of location data of its billions of users is the largest public database available to help health authorities. Because it will assess if people are abiding with shelter-in-place and similar orders issued across the world.
— Tomasz Nurkiewicz (@tnurkiewicz) March 30, 2020
The report chart compares internet traffic from Feb. 16 to March 29. Location for comparisons are subways, trains and bus stations, grocery stores and other broad categories of places.
Italy is a country, hit harshly by the novel coronavirus. Visits to retail and recreation locations, and restaurants and theaters, spiked 94% while visits to workplaces dropped to 63%. This reflects the severity of the crisis there. Because grocery and pharmacy visits in Italy dropped 85% and park visits were down by 90%.
In the United States of America, California is the first in the country with a statewide lockdown. People there cut visits to retail and recreation locations by half. But Arkansas, one of the only states without a full lockdown, has seen recreational visits fall 29%, the lowest for a U.S. state.
Is Alphabet Inc’s subsidiary, Google breaching your privacy?
No, your privacy is not breached. Researchers are gathering data for a short span of time. Once the COVID-19 pandemic clears out. Everything will be back to normal.
Like Google, Facebook Inc has billions of users. It also has shared location data with non-governmental researchers that are producing similar reports for authorities in several countries. But the social media and business tycoon has not yet published any findings. Google uses community mobility reports for the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 1 million people worldwide, and SARS-CoV, the respiratory illness it causes, has killed 52,000 globally.
Infectious disease specialists analyze travel across groups by age, income and other demographics which can help shape public service announcements.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.