Korea to use roaming data to monitor diseases

James Pearce
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Korean government has launched a pilot which aims to use data from carriers to help reduce the outbreak of infectious diseases

The Korean government has unveiled a test pilot that will use roaming data provided by mobile networks to help monitor and prevent the spread of diseases across the world.

Seoul’s science ministry use data from carriers to see if users had visited places where outbreaks of infectious diseases had occurred in other places to help track the spread of illnesses.

The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention will also be involved, government officials announced, by sending information to Koreans using roaming services about potential virus outbreaks in other countries, Yonhap news agency reported.

It comes after an outbreak of Middle East Respirator Syndrome killed 36 people in Korea last year, leading to thousands of schools closing. The disease was brought to the country by a man who had visited the Middle East.

The first telecom firm to sign up to the pilot was announced as KT Corp, the second largest mobile carrier in the country. 80% of its customers use roaming services while travelling abroad, it said.

SK Telecom and LG Uplus will develop their own system before joining the programme at some point next year, officials added."Information of users such as name, gender, birthday, and the name of the disease will be kept for only a certain period of time, and will not be used for any other purpose," said Lee Jae-ho, a KT official.