Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/949

HABIT: Hardware-Assisted Bluetooth-based Infection Tracking

Nathan Manohar and Peter Manohar and Rajit Manohar

Abstract: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused health organizations to consider using digital contact tracing to help monitor and contain the spread of COVID-19. Due to this urgent need, many different groups have developed secure and private contact tracing phone apps. However, these apps have not been widely deployed, in part because they do not meet the needs of healthcare officials.

We present HABIT, a contact tracing system using a wearable hardware device designed specifically with the goals of public health officials in mind. Unlike current approaches, we use a dedicated hardware device instead of a phone app for proximity detection. Our use of a hardware device allows us to substantially improve the accuracy of proximity detection, achieve strong security and privacy guarantees that cannot be compromised by remote attackers, and have a more usable system, while only making our system minimally harder to deploy compared to a phone app in centralized organizations such as hospitals, universities, and companies.

The efficacy of our system is currently being evaluated in a pilot study at Yale University in collaboration with the Yale School of Public Health.

Category / Keywords: applications / contact tracing, COVID-19, privacy, hardware, accuracy

Date: received 3 Aug 2020

Contact author: nmanohar at cs ucla edu, pmanohar@cs cmu edu, rajit manohar@yale edu

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Version: 20200804:070500 (All versions of this report)

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