Announcements, information and updates from the AG Alliance Members and Associates
April 30, 2020
Editor's Note:

Over the last 6 weeks, we've covered an array of topics and responses related to the coronavirus pandemic, including:
  • Criminal Justice and State Actions
  • State Court Responses
  • University Response Plans, Financial Aid and Student Debt
  • Data Privacy and Using Tech for Good
  • Regulation Technology, Property Management Issues

This week's special edition roundup is dedicated to new coverage of the above topics, with a specific focus on contact tracing technology and privacy.

South Korea flattened its coronavirus curve with three guiding principles: test, trace and contain. Mobile technology in the form of federally-supported contact tracing has been pivotal in this process.

The CDC website reviews the basic principles of contract tracing and features a call to action, asking communities to immediately scale up their existing efforts and train a new contract tracer workforce to stop the transmission of COVID-19.

Experts believe that cohesive and efficient testing and tracing are crucial to the wide-scale reopening the economy. In the US, individual states are considering if their privacy and civil liberty concerns can be adequately addressed to allow for adoption of mobile contact tracing systems.

Johns Hopkins University recently released a study , estimating the US needs  at least 100,000 additional public health workers  to help with contact tracing; we are currently far from this number.

A mix of state and local health departments, nonprofits, private entities and universities are working toward meeting the CDC mobile-contact tracing goal as it could be pivotal in supporting an ailing economy. Funding from the CARES Act is expected to pay for thousands of laid-off employees to re-enter the workforce as contact tracers. The  CDC Foundation's job posting  requires a bachelor's degree for candidates.

Contact tracing works by sending alerts or notifications using a variety of communication methods and platforms. As published in our roundup from April 17th, Trust Stamp's biometric location-tracking tool, called Safe14, is a prime example. This tool is available to government, healthcare and non-profit organizations at no cost.

The Syndesy app, created by a longtime friend of the Attorney General Alliance, Hemu Nigam of SSP Blue, is another tool that allows users to connect and check-in, and calls upon Americans to bring communities together and keep them safe.

As with any new technology, there are limitations. Users would have to opt-in, and while both Trust Stamp and Syndesy operate without violating privacy or abridging civil liberties, other apps are susceptible to exposing personal data in the event of a hack. It's also unclear whether enough people will do so to make the effort worthwhile. And people without smartphones would not get notified at all, raising concerns about fair protections for the health and safety of low-income citizens.

Below, you will find more information and resources on contact tracing. We hope this overview is helpful in guiding your AGOs on response plans and best practices for testing and tracing the coronavirus.
We Asked All 50 States About Their Contact Tracing Capacity. Here's What We learned
April 28, 2020

States are eager to open up and get people back to work, but how do they do that without risking new coronavirus flare-ups? Public health leaders widely agree that communities need to ramp up capacity to test, trace and isolate. The idea behind this public health mantra is simple: Keep the virus in check by having teams of public health workers — epidemiologists, nurses, trained citizens — identify new positive cases, track down their contacts and help both the sick person and those who were exposed isolate themselves.
Contact Tracing 101: How It Works, Who Could Get Hired, and Why It's So Critical
CNN Health
April 27, 2020

Contact tracing tracks down anyone who might have been infected by a person who was recently diagnosed so those contacts can quarantine themselves and prevent further spread. It's an arduous task, but contact tracing has been credited with helping stop the SARS epidemic in 2004.

Researchers say the US -- or really any country -- can't safely reopen without significant amounts of contact tracing and testing
Syndesy Protects Civil Liberties During COVID-19 Pandemic

Syndesy is an app for the mobile phone which facilitates healthy connections in both the private and professional space; importantly, it also provides a means to seek help on a moment’s notice.

The app lets users do their own contact tracing, voluntarily and freely. With the simple and instant press of the Check-Ins button right there on the home screen of the app, you can log in every place you go if and when you have to go anywhere. The app will make a note of that information with a time-, date- and geo-stamp, and it will stay there in your private cache until such time, if it ever comes, that you yourself are exposed to the disease or actually infected.
Trust Stamp Launches Biometric Privacy-Preserving Location Tracking, Tech5 and iComply Offer Remote ID Support
Trust Stamp's new tool works to provide biometric privacy-protecting location-tracking has been launched by Trust Stamp, leveraging the company’s core technology with cryptographic anonymization and matching algorithms.

The new is intended to support calculated quarantining that protects civil liberties. The company says current systems involve intrusive surveillance and economic damage, plus the creation of centralized databases of personal information. Safe14 transforms facial biometric data from periodic selfies irreversibly to establish the authenticated user’s “Trusted Presence” with a multi-modality location beacon. Location data is encrypted for storage with only tokenized identity data. The data is interrogated on a zero-knowledge-proof basis, by means of the user presenting a QR code stored in the mobile device, along with the biometric selfie.

Trust Stamp recently patented a touchless fingerprint biometric solution to serve public health, information security, and individual privacy needs. Trust Stamp says the new technology launch builds on its Humanitarian and Development collaborations with Mastercard, which recently made a strategic investment in the company.
Apple and Google Release First Seed of COVID-19 Exposure Notification API for Contact Tracing App Developers
Tech Crunch
April 29, 2020

Apple and Google have released the first version of their exposure notification API, which they previously called the contact tracing API. This is a developer-focused release, and is a seed of the API in development, with the primary intent of collecting feedback from developers who will be using the API to create new contact tracing and notification apps on behalf of public health agencies.
Can We Track COVID-19 and Protect Privacy At The Same Time?
The New Yorker
April 27, 2020

By presenting aggregated location data in an accessible and searchable format for epidemiologists studying COVID-19, [contact tracing] would enable researchers and policymakers to see how members of the public move around their communities. When paired with other metrics, such as the number of new infections or mortality rates, the data would guide policymakers as they grappled with when and where to lift stay-at-home orders.

Location data are the bread and butter of “ad tech.” Location data are often triangulated with other, seemingly innocuous slivers of personal information—so many, in fact, that a number of data brokers claim to have around five thousand data points on almost every American.

Barron's reported that a Morgan Stanley analyst says the impact of COVID-19—which has shut casinos -- could spur more states to legalize online casino and sports betting.

More than 3.4 million homeowners are skipping their mortgage payments because of financial losses during the pandemic, but many lenders are demanding giant balloon payments at the end. This is not how the program is supposed to work, leaving homeowners urging congress to act.

The Prison policy Initiative published a 50-state spreadsheet  showing what each state Department of Corrections has told the public about its virus response plan.

  • Arizona AG Brnovich issued an advisory on best security practices for working or learning online, from home. 


  • New York AG James and Pennsylvania AG Shapiro and a coalition of 22 AGs sent letters to the nation’s three largest credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and Transunion,) reminding the companies of their continued obligation during the COVID-19 pandemic to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

  • Florida AG Moody alerted consumers to stay safe and protective with personal data while playing online video or social media games.

  • Nevada AG Ford warned state citizens to be cautious of fake job opportunities advertised online, where scammers act to obtain personal information or take your money.

  • Oregon AG Rosenblum announced a a $4.4 million settlement with the nonprofit Ecotrust and its for-profit affiliate Ecotrust Forest Management to resolve claims under the Oregon False Claims Act involving the applications Ecotrust submitted to procure New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) financing for two development projects Ecotrust administered.


  • Oregon AG Rosenblum was influential in the state Legislature's Emergency Board action to provide an infusion of $2 million to fund crucial safe housing to victims and survivors of domestic violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Pfizer announced a coronavirus vaccine could be ready for emergency use this fall, and they are awaiting FDA approval to begin testing in the US.

  • Centene announced a collaboration with Quest Diagnostics to increase access to real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 testing in critical areas of need across the country.


  • Comcast announced it will extend its commitments for Xfinity customers through June 30 to help ensure students can finish out the school year from home and remain connected to the internet during the COVID-19 crisis.
CWAG Executive Committee
- Hector Balderas - Mark Brnovich -
- Wayne Stenehjem - Phil Weiser -

AG Alliance Co-Chairs
- Lawrence Wasden - Sean Reyes - Karl Racine -
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