Mobile App in UK Uses Crowdsourcing to Track Coronavirus Infection Rates

An application called the COVID Symptom Tracker is being used to gather data from the public on the rate of infection in the general population, highlighting a use for the Internet of Things that wasn’t anticipated until now.

The Internet of Things (IoT) covers pretty much everything connected to the Internet, and that includes smartphones. The power of crowdsourcing is successfully tapped on a regular basis, and the app used in the United Kingdom aims to keep everybody informed and provide a clearer image of the rate of infection.

COVID Symptom Tracker is built by a private company and asks users to complete a 1-minute self-survey. The idea is to show how fast the virus is spreading in a given area, to underline high-risk areas, and to provide clear information about who’s at risk and what are the possible symptoms.

Of note is that it’s not a completely private enterprise and that the gathered data is being used to further research.

“You are also contributing to advance research on COVID-19 in partnership with leading scientific institutions like King’s College London and the Twins Study, one of the most clinically detailed studies in the world,” states the application. “This app allows you to help others, but does not give health advice.”

Of course, this application raises a number of questions regarding privacy, as it’s difficult to say what’s happening with people’s data. The company that makes the app, Zoe Global Limited, says the information shared will not be used for commercial purposes and that people will be able to delete the submitted data after the pandemic is over.

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