Hundreds of academics across the world have welcomed efforts to introduce privacy-friendly contact tracing systems to help understand the spread of coronavirus.

A letter, signed by nearly 300 academics and published Monday, praised recent announcements from Apple and Google to build an opt-in and decentralized way of allowing individuals to know if they have come into contact with someone confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.

The academics said that contact tracing apps that use automated Bluetooth tracing are far more privacy preserving than apps that collect location data in a central store.

“Contact tracing is a well-understood tool to tackle epidemics, and has traditionally been done manually. In some situations, so-called ‘contact tracing apps’ on peoples’ smartphones may improve the effectiveness of the manual contact

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