Contact tracing by app: life-saving or invasion of privacy?

For many Americans, it’s only a matter of weeks before the cell phones in their pockets start measuring how close they’ve come to COVID-19.

But advocates, scientists and researchers are monitoring the spread of something they deem to be important, too, and that’s how close these mobile applications come to invading privacy and encroaching on civil liberties.

It’s a question that’s emerged since countries around the world have started utilizing technology to help in contact tracing — a method of tracking the potential spread of a disease that traditionally has been tasked to public health authorities who work with infected patients directly to retrace their movements and close contacts.