65 PERCENT OF MONTANANS WILLING TO COOPERATE WITH COVID CONTACT TRACING
Privacy protections could boost cooperation.
Today, the Frontier Institute released a new public opinion survey finding 65% of Montanans willing to cooperate with contact tracing efforts, with half of respondents expressing concern about sharing their private information with public health officials.
The statewide survey, conducted earlier this month by telephone, also found that Montanans believe general public policy measures could help ease privacy concerns about contact tracing, such as stricter limits on government use of data and protections from mass surveillance.
“Montana’s economic recovery during this pandemic depends on the success of public health efforts, but a lot of people won’t cooperate because they fear for their privacy,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO of the Frontier Institute. “Legislation to protect privacy rights could be an effective tool for policymakers to increase cooperation with contact tracing and boost Montana’s economy.”
The poll also found partisanship was a factor in how Montanans view privacy, with 62% of Democrats willing to sacrifice privacy for public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to only 20% of Republicans.
Cotton pointed to states like Utah, which recently adopted a law to crack down on warrantless searches and mass surveillance, as an example that Montana lawmakers could consider to help ease privacy concerns.
Health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci have noted that Contact Tracing is highly dependent on public cooperation and trust in order to be effective.
Contact Tracing is a proven tactic widely employed by health departments to control the spread of COVID-19, with officials collecting information about COVID patients to effectively trace the spread of the virus, including shopping habits, close contacts like friends and family, or even social media activity.
The Frontier Institute is a new, independent think tank based in Helena, Montana. This survey is a part of the Institute’s Frontier of Privacy Initiative, a project to preserve the individual rights of Montanans in the new frontiers opened by technology.
The survey was conducted October 1-5 and included interviews with 820 respondents, carrying a margin of error of +/- 3.2%. More information about the survey and methods can be found HERE.
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