How does the exposure notification feature work in Safer Illinois? Why does it ask for location access?
To participate in exposure notification, you must:
On Android, enabling exposure notification adds an icon to your status bar to indicate it's running in the background.
Your device will tell you when Exposure Notification is running. On iPhone, an alert message is displayed periodically that says “Checking for Exposures” when the Exposure Notification functionality is enabled. On Android, the notification screen says “Privacy-preserving contact tracing is currently running.”
Our system analytics tell us that Exposure Notifications are being reported anonymously to campus-based users of Safer Illinois.
Exposure Notification is triggered only by a contact that is considered a likely risk. Not every person you are near will be evaluated to determine exposure risk. The distance and time thresholds for registering a “contact” are currently set to a proximity of 10 feet and a duration of 2 continuous hours (August 20, 2020 release v.2.3.5). These settings are adjusted by local health authorities as they evaluate the effectiveness of the Exposure Notification system. Exposure risk settings are calibrated to strike a balance between too sensitive (producing false alarms) and not sensitive enough (failing to warn of actual exposures).
It is important to understand that the automated Exposure Notification feature of Safer Illinois is not a form of contact tracing. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) performs human contact tracing on our campus. Individuals who have a COVID-19 infection are interviewed by public health personnel to find out the names of their recent contacts. Those contacts are then interviewed by the contact tracing personnel and given medical guidance.