The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an urgent need for effective contact tracing solutions through mobile phone applications to prevent the infection from spreading further. However, due to the nature of contact tracing, public concern on privacy issues has been a bottleneck to the existing solutions, which is significantly affecting the uptake of contact tracing applications across the globe. In this paper, we present a blockchain-enabled privacy-preserving contact tracing scheme: BeepTrace, where we propose to adopt blockchain bridging the user/patient and the authorized solvers to desensitize the user ID and location information. Compared with recently proposed contact tracing solutions, our approach shows higher security and privacy with the additional advantages of being battery friendly and globally accessible. Results show viability in terms of the required resource at both server and mobile phone perspectives. Through breaking the privacy concerns of the public, the proposed BeepTrace solution can provide a timely framework for authorities, companies, software developers and researchers to fast develop and deploy effective digital contact tracing applications, to conquer COVID-19 pandemic soon. Meanwhile, the open initiative of BeepTrace allows worldwide collaborations, integrate existing tracing and positioning solutions with the help of blockchain technology.
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Xu, H., Zhang, L., Onireti, O., Fang, Y., Buchanan, W. & Imran, M. 2021, 'BeepTrace: blockchain-enabled privacy-preserving contact tracing for COVID-19 pandemic and beyond', IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 8(5), pp. 3915-3921. https://doi.org/10.1109/JIOT.2020.3025953