PACT: Private Automated Contact Tracing


PACT’s mission is to develop technology that enhances the public health community’s ability to slow the COVID-19 pandemic by augmenting the reach and efficacy of existing contact tracing strategies. We use personal digital communication devices that automate parts of the exposure detection function with privacy preserving design


PACT will achieve its mission by:

1. Designing, demonstrating, and refining systems that are private and secure by design.

2. Monitoring the implementation of systems built atop these best practices.

3. Developing proximity data sets and models based on Bluetooth RF phenomenology and public health guidance. 

4. Launching pilot deployments with public health partners to assess both engineering and public health efficacy.



Our team at MIT, working with partners from around the world, has developed a system for identifying people at risk of infecting COVID-19, by using the Bluetooth signals that our cell phones send each other. Privacy is a bedrock value so our system can notify individuals of potential contacts without revealing any private information to other individuals, the government, health care providers, or cell service providers.

PACT: An Open, Privacy-Preserving Protocol

To be effective, automated smartphone-based contact tracing requires an all-hands-on-deck effort to get technology in the hands of a large proportion of the population quickly. First and foremost, this requires a trusted, privacy-preserving approach. And second, the technology must be available across all smartphone platforms to assure broad and equitable deployment.

Therefore, MIT is leading effort with partners around the world to develop an open, interoperable, privacy-preserving protocol which we call PACT, Private Automated Contact Tracing. PACT is a technical standard/specification that anyone can deploy on any smartphone. Users that are part of the PACT will have the confidence to know that they are getting accurate information, that they are contributing to their community’s effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, and that their privacy is protected in the process.