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Governments around the world are desperately trying to stem the spread of the coronavirus, as confirmed cases climb over 400,000 and the death toll surpasses 18,000. Now, the European Union is turning to phone tracking to help manage the crisis.
As reported by Reuters, eight telecommunications companies have agreed to provide the European Commission with mobile phone location data in order to track the spread of the coronavirus. The participating companies are Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Telenor, Telia, A1 Telekom Austria, and Vodafone.
The agreement came on Wednesday, just days after the European Union’s Internal Market and Services Commissioner Thierry Breton urged the companies to hand over the data.
“We will select one big operator by country,” said Brenton, confirming to POLITICO he had made the request in a conference call on Monday. “We want to be very fast and follow this on a daily basis.”
Brenton stated the data would also be used to deduce where medical supplies are most needed to deal with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.