Wisconsin Senator calls UW Covid-19 app an invasion of student privacy

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) --- Wisconsin State Senator Duey Strobel (R - Saukville) issued a statement criticizing University of Wisconsin - Madison's Covid-19 plans for next semester.

Stroebel called the University's Covid-19 app an "Orwellian invasion of student privacy".

The plans require students to track and share their own health data through an app on their phone, according to a news release.

Stroebel says no person should be required to place their health information on a smart phone app.

"Increased testing for COVID-19 next semester makes sense, but I strongly disagree with the University's decision to embrace what sounds like an Orwellian invasion of student privacy," Stroebel said in a statement. "Forcing students to use an application on their phone to track test compliance and subsequently share that data with 'trained employees' who 'will stand guard outside buildings' conjures images of a state-run campus in a repressive regime."

Stroebel is referring to a mobile app called "Safer Badgers". 

"No person should be required to place their health information on a smart phone app that in real-time shares that information with other uses in the vicinity," Stroebel said. "Cyber security experts regularly warn us of the dangers of over-sharing personal information in a digital age. This new UW policy appears to require just that."

University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson announced Friday, Dec. 11, residential undergraduate students will be tested for COVID-19 at least once per week during the spring 2021 semester. In addition, all non-residential students, faculty, and staff will be tested at least once every two weeks. 

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