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How to fairly incentivise digital contact tracing
  1. Michele Loi
  1. Institute of Biomedical Ethics and the History of Medicine and Digital Society Initiative, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michele Loi, Institute of Biomedical Ethics and the History of Medicine and Digital Society Initiative, University of Zurich, Zurich 8006, Switzerland; michele.loi{at}


Digital apps using Bluetooth to log proximity events (henceforth, digital contact tracing) are increasingly supported by technologists and governments. By and large, the public debate on this matter focuses on privacy, with experts from both law and technology offering very concrete proposals and participating to a lively debate. Far less attention is paid to effective incentives and their fairness. This paper aims to fill this gap by offering a practical, workable solution for a promising incentive, justified by the ethical principles of non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy and justice. This incentive is a free phone optimised for running such app.

  • epidemiology
  • public policy
  • technology/risk assessment
  • public health ethics
  • distributive justice

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  • Contributors I am the sole author and sole contributor to this paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests ML reports personal fees from Health-Catalyst, outside the submitted work.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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