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NYCLU Statement on New York Contact Tracing App

NEW YORK – Today Governor Cuomo announced the rollout of a contact tracing smartphone app that would notify users of close contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19. The voluntary program would retroactively alert other users who have recently been within six feet of the infected person for more than 10 minutes. In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from policy counsel Allie Bohm

“Contact tracing – whether conducted in person or online – does not work without trust. The communities most impacted by COVID-19 have noticed New York’s knee-jerk instinct to involve police in the pandemic response, despite the fact that these communities, as a result of systemic racism, are among the most likely to distrust law enforcement. As schools and restaurants reopen and risk increased COVID transmission, New York owes it to all of us to finally cultivate the trust necessary for effective contact tracing.

“Sadly, Governor Cuomo hasn’t yet taken some of the easiest steps available to shore up public trust, but he can and must. The governor should start by signing A. 10500-C/S. 8450-C to keep police and immigration enforcement out of contact tracing and safeguard personal health information. The state should do everything in its power to protect health, privacy, and safety, because contact tracing is too important to get wrong.”

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