Ask the experts: COVID-19 exposure notification, privacy, and security

Across the state and the country, communities are weighing the various benefits, costs, and risks involved in reopening and resuming activities in the time of COVID-19. The importance of data privacy and security—especially as it relates to personal health information—has only been heightened during this time. As technology is increasingly used to help manage the spread of COVID-19, we must address our community’s concerns about individual protection, privacy, and security.

This webinar was held Tuesday, June 9.

Access full video here

  1. [14:28] The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of technology. What have we learned about the impact these changes had on privacy and access?
  2. [17:28] What kind of legal issues are we now confronting with track and trace technologies? Is there a federal privacy law, such as HIPPA, that protects personally identifiable information gathered for COVID-19 contact tracing?
  3. [23:30] What is contact tracing and exposure notification? Specifically, how is the Illinois app using track and trace technology to manage COVID-19 cases?
  4. [29:25] I’m concerned about privacy. Will personal data be stored and/or shared from the COVID-19 portion of the app?
  5. [38:20] Without adoption by a significant number of community members, how effective can an app expect to be, assuming we’re talking about something like Bluetooth enabled devices with an app installed? What about interoperability issues with similar
  6. [40:20] Why should people use the Illinois app? What are the benefits of using the app, and what concerns does the app present?
  7. [47:35] How does the Urbana-Champaign community get involved? How are we going to handle privacy issues leading to a general distrust in state and federal entities?
  8. [52:19] What campus unit is controlling sensitive user data? How can the Illinois app protect users’ data?


Masooda Bashir, Associate Professor, Information Sciences

Prof. Bashir’s research focuses on the interface of information technology, human psychology, and society; especially how privacy, security, and trust intersect from a psychological point of view with information systems. Prof. Bashir is director of Social Sciences in Engineering Research and teaches courses in privacy in the internet age, information assurance, ethics of cybersecurity, and digital forensics.

Faye Jones, Clinical Professor, Law

Prof. Jones, director of the Albert E. Jenner Law Library, is an expert in legal research and privacy and security. She teaches substantive legal and research courses on Privacy and Cybersecurity Law, Advanced Legal Research, and is developing a technology for lawyering course. She will bring her legal expertise to understand privacy and security amid technology developments for COVID-19.

Sanjay Patel, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Prof. Patel has done extensive work in the area of computer systems, chip architecture, computer vision, and machine learning.  He has helped start several companies including AGEIA Technologies and Personify, Inc. He is Senior Technology Advisor for the Rokwire project where he has been leading the effort around privacy policies for digital tracing of coronavirus exposure.

William Sullivan, Professor, Landscape Architecture

Prof. Sullivan, director of the Rokwire project, has led a team creating an app to deliver real time information and services to students. Through these efforts, and their recent work to create a COVID-19 status function for the Rokwire platform, Prof. Sullivan has become a campus expert on data privacy and security, especially in relation to COVID-19.