PathCheck participates in, and hosts a wide range of online events on digital contact tracing, exposure notification, and efforts around the world to contain COVID-19, restart the economy, and protect privacy.



Trust in Pandemic Tech: Smartphone Apps for Participatory Response


The mission of the MIT Program for Trusted Pandemic Technologies is to help public health professionals rapidly overcome challenging barriers they encounter as they engage citizens as active participants in digital solutions for fighting COVID-19 and future pandemics.

The initial focus of the program will be to work with state public health officials as they design and deploy exposure notification and digital contact tracing for COVID-19. Subsequent initiatives under consideration include surveillance/monitoring and predictive modeling so that we as a society are much better prepared for future pandemics.

The founding belief of the program is that when it comes to engaging citizens in a quest for the common good, especially public health, trust at all levels and among all participants is mandatory for success.

The biggest challenges in designing digital solutions which engage citizens are human and societal as well as technologic. The program therefore functions as a tight collaboration among experts from a variety of disciplines. These include information science, public health, biotechnology, behavioral economics and public policy.

To accomplish its mission the program will function as a totally open and neutral venue that partners with government, academia and industry to advance basic knowledge as well as accelerate the practical and application of that knowledge to solutions that save lives and reduce human suffering.



Responsible Data Summit Track: In the Time of Pandemic

Never before have we had access to large scale datasets and processing capabilities while fighting a global pandemic like COVID-19. But with great data comes great responsibility. New questions are being asked, such as:

  • How should such data be used?
  • Are there protections that individuals are willing to forgo in a short-term crisis? What happens after the crisis is over?
  • Is it possible to enhance contact tracing while also increasing privacy protections?
  • What other technologies can be used to fight a global pandemic, and what are the privacy implications of their use?

At the responsible data summit we will explore the perspectives and experiences of leaders fighting COVID-19 with data and new technologies, and host a discussion about how we all – as responsible data stewards – can use data responsibly to fight both the current pandemic and infectious diseases in the future.



Digital Contact Tracing: Blazing a Trail Back to Normal?

As people around the world deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone everywhere is asking one simple question: when will it end? A key component to answering this all-important question stems from having a more complete understanding of how the disease spreads. This is where contact tracing can play a huge role.

Just about everyone today has a mobile phone, so it makes sense to try to track the movement of these phones to understand the spread of COVID-19. The level of international collaboration is unprecedented, involving governments, health organizations, universities, and private companies. Silicon Valley giants like Google and Apple are leading efforts to develop a shared API that will automatically collect location data on mobile devices. The implications of knowing every person with whom any person has had contact are both enormously beneficial and enormously scary at the same time, but if it works, this contact tracing data could help provide a path back to normal.

Understandably, venture capital firms and startups are working hard (remotely, of course) to incorporate these APIs into existing and emerging apps — and to explore new opportunities in this space. Our panel will discuss the impact of universal adoption of this technology and several related hot-button issues, such as:

  • What mechanisms are needed to ensure that this location data is not misused?
  • Will people be willing to sacrifice some privacy to help stop the pandemic?
  • How will companies and organizations be able to use this data once the crisis has ended?

Listen to a panel of experts and entrepreneurs, including Ramesh Raskar, as they discuss the impact of digital contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic — and several related hot-button issues.

Join us for our interactive online event on July 23 as we explore digital contact tracing together.



US Congressional Hearing: Exposure Notification and Contact Tracing: How AI Helps Localities Reopen Safely and Researchers Find a Cure.

PathCheck Foundation Chairman Ramesh Raskar will present before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Artificial Intelligence will hold a virtual hearing entitled, “Exposure Notification and Contact Tracing: How AI Helps Localities Reopen Safely and Researchers Find a Cure.” The single panel hearing will have the following witnesses:

  • Ramesh Raskar, Assoc. Professor, MIT and Founder, PathCheck Foundation [Opening Statement]
  • Brian McClendon, CEO, Co-founder, CVKey Project
  • Krutika Kuppalli, M.D., Infectious Diseases Physician
  • Andre M. Perry, Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institute



Digital Contact Tracing Moves from Concept toward Delivery

An update beginning with insight into the PathCheck Foundation name. Followed by an explanation of PathCheck Foundation’s three fundamental pillars of software, insights, and partnerships. There are currently two technological solutions that PathCheck is implementing to help with digital contact tracing and exposure notification: GAEN and GPS+. Demos will walk you through each of the solutions and their implications.



A Caribbean Horizon: Looking Ahead to the Next Six Months

A discussion led by PathCheck Foundation Rollout leaders Khahlil Louisy and Sienna Leis as well as Dr. Clive Landis (Pro Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica). Insight into how the Caribbean is looking at the pandemic response, re-opening, and planning for the near future



Role of Digital Contact Tracing for Pandemic: The Hype and the Reality

A discussion led by Dr. Ramesh Raskar, featuring special guest Tomás Pueyo (author of a series of viral articles and white papers on the COVID-19 pandemic). An exploration of the hopes for digital contact tracing and the reality of what would need to happen for digital contact tracing to be effective.



Back to School – how can we reopen K-12 in the fall?

An overview on how to promote continuous learning for K-12 students during a time of changes and challenges due to the pandemic. Moderated by Greg Nadeau, Dr. Deborah Posner (Executive Director Strategic Initiatives) and Dan Gohl (Chief Academic Officer for Broward County Public Schools, the 6th largest in the US) discuss re-opening options.



Human-Tech Partnerships: Manual Vs Digital Contact Tracing

Dr. Raskar (MIT Media Lab) and special guest Dr. Felten (Princeton University) discuss how technology can be used to alert people on the coronavirus outbreak and trace those who have been in close proximity to those infected. They analyze the differences between deploying and using manual versus digital solutions during the pandemic.



Deep Dive into the Safe Paths Technology Platform

An overview of the PathCheck platform as it exists today, what we’re working on, and a deep dive into the upcoming Project Aurora and Health Authority Customizations. Professor Ramesh Raskar of the MIT Media Lab begins with a presentation.

The panel will consist of:
Ramesh Raskar, Safe Paths founder
Sam Zimmermann, Safe Paths CTO
Diarmid Makenzie, Testing lead



How Effective Can Contact Tracing Be Without Location Context?

Dr. Ramesh Raskar reviews the Apple/Google Location Policy followed by a discussion with Ryan Naughton, Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Covid Alliance. Additionally, two new segments are introduced this week. First, Deepti Pahwa launches a segment called Community Forum to directly address PathCheck Foundation’s 1200+ person network of volunteers. Second, Sienna Leis launches a segment called Field Report to feature a weekly status overview from PathCheck Foundation’s Rollout team.



Bringing Contact Tracing to You – What’s Involved?

Dr. Ramesh Raskar demonstrates how digital contact tracing could both allow societies to reopen more safely and preserve the privacy of all undiagnosed participants. Followed by a panel discussion led by members of the global rollout team to address the implementation process.



Contact Tracing to Beat the Virus: Bluetooth or GPS?

A discussion of the benefits, limitations, and privacy concerns with Bluetooth and GPS technology in contact tracing. Accordingly, this week’s Special Guest Discussion with Sam Zimmermann and Kyle Towle focuses on the technology behind Safe Paths. Dr. Ramesh Raskar leads the conversation on how COVID Safe Paths is able to solve this puzzle, addressing both end-users and health officials.



Privacy-Aware Contact Tracing towards Resilient Societies

Introduction to COVID Safe Paths (now known as PathCheck Foundation). A robust discussion of: (1) The Combined Bluetooth and GPS approach to Contact Tracing, (2) Leveraging Google’s and Apple’s upcoming Bluetooth API, (3) Using Privacy & Transparency to Build the Trust Required for Contact Tracing, and (4) Implementing Privacy-First Contact Tracing with the Safe Paths Platform.