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Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

DHS taps University of Washington to create criteria for COVID-19 digital contact tracing app testing

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The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded $959,305 to the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory this week to create testing criteria for a COVID-19 digital contact tracing app.

The award was granted through the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). A major focus of the investigation will be to allow smartphone-based technologies to automate the contact tracing and exposure notification process without sacrificing privacy and civil liberties. To this end, the university will gather experts to create specific criteria, as well as to explore and develop policy considerations for the use of the technology.

“With DCT apps, we recognized that there’s a need for a clear, consistent, and common set of privacy and security test criteria,” SVIP Managing Director Melissa Oh said. “By bringing together a diverse, inclusive group of experts, our goal is to openly develop test criteria that are publicly accepted, trusted, and utilized.”

The effort will be pursued in conjunction with an SVIP Phase 1 award to AppCensus, to adapt its infrastructure to allow DCT app testing.