Google and Apple's diktat to governments on coronavirus contact-tracing apps is a troubling display of unaccountable power

Tom Loosemore is a partner at Public Digital, which helps governments and large organizations around the world adapt to the internet era. He was a cofounder of the UK’s Government Digital Service.

Google and Apple made a huge global health policy decision in April by setting boundaries on how governments build their national contact-tracing apps, he writes.

Although it’s a positive that Google and Apple have people’s privacy in mind with these limitations, their decision raises alarming questions about how unaccountable Silicon Valley firms have power over public health decisions.

The Apple and Google approach may also undermine governments’ attempts to link contact-tracing apps with their wider, real-world contact-tracing efforts.

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

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