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Saturday, May 8th, 2021

DHS selects AppCensus for digital contact tracing award

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AppCensus, a start-up from El Cerrito, Calif., won a $198,600 award from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to develop testing and validation services for digital contact tracing applications.

The phase 1 award was made under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Emerging Needs: COVID-19 Response & Future Mitigation solicitation. This funding source addresses multiple near term use-cases in response to the pandemic and prepares DHS for future mitigation. AppCensus is the first of six start-ups to receive a phase 1 award.

“It is important to safeguard privacy, security, equity, and liberty with digital contact tracing and exposure notification applications,” Anil John, SVIP technical director, said. “Once adapted and enhanced, the AppCensus platform will provide reports based on consistent tests using openly developed criteria of publicly available digital contract tracing applications to make it easy for people to understand potential privacy and security risks.”

AppCensus has a platform for analyzing the runtime behaviors of mobile apps and assessing their security and privacy risks. The project will adapt this platform to develop an on-demand, automated mobile-app testing system to enhance the security and privacy testing of android and iOS digital contract tracing apps that are already available.

AppCensus will provide a free public microsite with results of the digital contact tracing app testing. The results will include descriptions and sensitivity categorizations for data the apps collect.