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How The Internet Enables New Zealand’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing

InternetNZ is offering to host an online meeting next week to help work through the issues with contact tracing technology. It today also releases two documents to help inform the discussion.

Today the Prime Minister announced that contact tracing technology will be one of three pillars in New Zealand’s strategy to contain COVID-19.

InternetNZ is offering its thinking on how the Internet might be used to support efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"In this unprecedented time of physical distancing, we have seen New Zealanders use the Internet to connect with each other, work from home, and stay informed. Now it’s time to explore the potential for the Internet to also help us with contact tracing and containing the spread of COVID-19", says InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter.

InternetNZ acknowledges the Prime Minister’s three pillars for successful COVID-19 response: border control, vigorous testing and contact tracing, and using all the technology available.

"We welcome this approach, and now we must ensure that any technology solution is developed and implemented in a way that earns the trust and buy-in of all New Zealanders," Carter says.

"New Zealanders should understand how their phone can be used to help health professionals conduct efficient and effective contact tracing, and should be able to opt in or out of any location tracking based technologies", says Carter.

To contribute to this conversation, InternetNZ has released two short discussion papers:

Contact tracing and your data: an introduction‘

Contact tracing and your data’ is an introduction to how your phone can be used to track your location, and how this information could be used to help experts understand COVID-19, and enable efficient, effective contact tracing. We also have a look at a few ways the government could use existing tech to implement nationwide proximity and location pinpointing.

Let's talk contact tracing: our offer to host a conversation on social licence

‘Talking contact tracing’ is our offer to host the conversation needed to ensure any technology for contact tracing will earn the trust and support of New Zealanders. Building this social licence will be important for any contact tracing technology to be effective. We are offering to host an online conversation the week after Easter so this can happen quickly, in a way that can reach New Zealanders during the current Level 4 lockdown.

We want to see government, health, technology, civil society and academia collaborating towards outcomes that reflect the values of New Zealanders, as we meet challenges of COVID-19 together.

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