PACT Technical Reports

Ronald L. Rivest, Jon Callas, Ran Canetti, Kevin Esvelt, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Yael Tauman Kalai, Anna Lysyanskaya, Adam Norige, Ramesh Raskar, Adi Shamir, Emily Shen, Israel Soibelman, Michael Specter, Vanessa Teague, Ari Trachtenberg, Mayank Varia, Marc Viera, Daniel Weitzner, John Wilkinson, Marc Zissman

Summary: This paper describes the PACT (Private Automated Contact Tracing) protocol, a simple, decentralized approach to using smartphones for contact tracing based on Bluetooth proximity.

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Marc Zissman

Description: Sides about the PACT project presented by Marc Zissman at the IEEE EMBS 2020 Annual Conference.

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Gary F. Hatke, Monica Montanari, Swaroop Appadwedula, Michael Wentz, John Meklenburg, Louise Ivers, Jennifer Watson, Paul Fiore

Abstract: “The process of contact tracing to reduce the spread of highly infectious and life-threatening diseases has traditionally been a primarily manual process managed by public health entities. This process becomes challenged when faced with a pandemic of the proportions of SARS-CoV2. Digital contact tracing has been proposed as way to augment manual contact tracing and lends itself to widely proliferated devices such as cell phones and wearables. This paper describes a method and analysis of determining whether two cell phones, carried by humans, were in persistent contact of no more than 6 feet over 15 minutes using Bluetooth Low Energy signals. The paper describes the approach to detecting these signals, as well as a data-driven performance analysis showing that larger numbers of samples with more optimal detection algorithms, coupled with privacy preserving auxiliary information, improves detection performance.”

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Louise C Ivers & Daniel J Weitzner.

Abstract: “Contact tracing is a fundamental public health intervention, and a mainstay in efforts to control and contain severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of writing, the pandemic has caused more than 13 million cases and more than 578000 deaths.1 Regions with the most successful containment to date have approached the pandemic with integrated measures that include cohesive leadership, effective communication, physical distancing, wearing of face coverings, improvements in the built environment, promotion of hand hygiene, and support for the staff, supplies, and systems needed to care for patients—with testing and contact tracing as cornerstones of the approach. Despite the emergence of some promising therapies2 and work towards a future vaccine,3 basic public health approaches remain the best available prevention and control interventions at this time.”

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Glenn Cohen, Lawrence O. Gostin & Daniel J. Weitzner.

Abstract: “Contact investigations have been a vital public health strategy, most recently in controlling tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Yet, the sheer scale of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections poses major challenges to contact investigations. Strategies in China, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have supplemented traditional manual approaches with digital surveillance through smartphone applications.

The US has not used digital surveillance as a tool, but Google, Apple, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as 2 pan-European consortia and a variety of independent efforts are developing Bluetooth smartphone technology to enable rapid notification of users that they have had a close exposure to individuals diagnosed with medically verified coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). How does digital tracking differ from manual tracing? Although digital surveillance has the distinct advantages of scale and speed, does it confer sufficient public health benefit to justify adoption given privacy concerns? How do the design choices of digital contact tracing systems affect public health and privacy?”

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