Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program


Lijing Jiang

Second Advisor

Kara Kugelmeyer


Digital contact tracing applications are a necessary and potentially dangerous tool used to combat the spread of COVID-19. Due to the potentially sensitive nature of personal information gathered by contact tracing applications, there is high potential for privacy issues to arise. This thesis explores the dangers of digital contact tracing or contact tracing via a mobile application. Focusing on the United States, this paper studies how contact tracing works and how a contact tracing application might collect different types of data. The paper then studies the effects of giving up location data and health data and what potential ramifications that may hold. Finally, the thesis concludes with the idea that there needs to be federal regulations on health and personal data beyond that of which is provided by HIPAA, noting that Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation can be a good model for the United States.


COVID-19, Digital Contact Tracing, COVID-19 Contact Tracing, Contact Tracing, Location Data, Health Data