Metadata Meets COVID-19

Metadata Meets COVID-19

By Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. and Andrew I. Fillat

‘Metadata” might sound like something that “Star Trek‘s” Spock would oversee, but it is real and increasingly familiar, as the result of stories about wiretaps and security. The easiest-to-understand example of it is information about the time, duration, originating number, and destination number of a phone call – but without any of the content (i.e. words spoken) of the call. Metadata might also indicate from its format that a field on a form is a date or Social Security number – e.g., “xx/xx/xxxx” or “xxx-xx-xxx,” respectively.

We believe it is critical now to establish a set of “metapolicies” – overarching governing actions to deal with the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic. These metapolicies consist of sets of minimally prescriptive guiding principles, within which specific policies can be crafted.

Most people understand that one size does not fit all, and that that is even true well below the level of a single state, county, or city, much less what can emanate from Washington, D.C. The metapolicies proposed below should transcend these divides and serve as a guide to sensible policies . . .

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Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.