San Francisco and Alameda drop Verily’s COVID-19 testing service

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The task force also raised concerns about the fact that people have to provide sensitive personal information, including their addresses and whether they have chronic health conditions, when they sign up. Verily uses language in its privacy policy that says it can share people’s information with third parties involved in the testing program.

Dr. Noha Aboelata, CEO of Roots Community Health Center in Oakland who worked with Verily to establish a walk-up site at her clinic, echoed the task force’s concerns. She found that the people who registered through Verily for testing tended to be white — her clinic mostly serves African Americans and other PoCs — and to come from wealthier ZIP codes outside of East Oakland. The doctor severed her ties with Verily after only six days.

Dr. Jonathan Fuchs, who leads San Francisco County’s testing strategy, confirmed to Kaiser that the partnership with Verily is “currently on hold.” Verily spokesperson Kathleen Parkes told the publication, though, that conversations with San Francisco and Alameda remain “active.” In addition, she explained that the testing program requires a Gmail account so that it can use Google’s authentication procedures to protect people’s sensitive data.

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