TRENTON, NJ - State Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th, has introduced a bill that will limit exposure of personal information gathered by investigaors during the contact tracing process.
The bill requires that all personal information collected when tracing an individual's suspected exposure to the Coronavirus be deleted permanently after 30 days.
To view the bill in its entirety, click here.
This includes information from Bluetooth devices and global positioning systems. The Commissioner of Health shall require that all systems that are collecting such data be automatically deleted after 30 days. Any misuse or unlawful disclosure of this information will result in a $100,000 fine, according to the bill.
South Korea and China have used extensive contact tracing in order to maintain the spread of COVID-19. In New Jersey, Newark and Paterson have begun to implement contact tracing efforts, according to Zwicker.
Zwicker emphasizes the need for trust between the public and the government, as personal data is given voluntarily.
“One of the ways to build trust is to make sure that all data collected is used to save lives and for public health and nothing else,” Zwicker said; “when it is no longer needed it will be deleted.”
New Jersey is contracted with a private database company, the Communicable Disease Reporting & Surveillance System (CDRSS), to act as a central database for all information gathered during the contact tracing interviews. The bill requires the company to follow privacy guidelines or face a penalty if they are not met, according to Zwicker.
“We need contact tracing. Until there is a vaccine, we need to stop the spread of this virus,” Zwicker said, “and as we are slowly reopening the state and our economy, this is a key part of what has to happen.”