Many governments eager to reopen their societies are starting to bet on smartphone apps to help stanch the coronavirus pandemic.

But their decisions on which technologies to use highlight some uncomfortable trade-offs between protecting privacy and public health.

The first such apps collect user data and sometimes their location history to warn people about possible exposure to COVID-19.

Such information could help authorities detect new outbreak hot spots, but it could also potentially be abused by police or immigration agents.

By contrast, Apple and Google are offering new software designed to support apps that will alert individuals directly about exposure, an approach increasingly popular in Europe.

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