White House officials call on Apple and other tech companies to help fight coronavirus

Earlier today, it was reported that Apple and other tech companies would meet with White House officials to “discuss ways” to coordinate a response to the coronavirus outbreak. Politico now has the details of that meeting, including what the Trump administration is seeking from technology companies.

The conference call was led by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, with attendees including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Twitter. On the call, Kratios pushed the companies to coordinate efforts to remove harmful content related to coronavirus.

The Trump administration also wants tech companies to help in other ways, including research management:

The administration also implored the companies to use their technical expertise to help those grappling with the fallout from the coronavirus. The White House plans to release a database of research related to the coronavirus and asked tech companies to help medical researchers analyze it for insights using artificial intelligence.

One source told Politico that the White House also asked the technology companies to “provide the government with any data that can help the government track and manage the spreading virus.” A spokesperson for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, however, denied that it made such a request.

Finally, Trump administration officials also called on the tech industry to help companies, schools, and other businesses make the switch to remote work and education when possible.

In a statement after the conference call, Kratsios again emphasized the role that companies like Apple will play in containing coronavirus and the news around it:

“Cutting edge technology companies and major online platforms will play a critical role in this all-hands-on-deck effort,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, who convened he conference call, said in a statement afterward. “Today’s meeting outlined an initial path forward and we intend to continue this important conversation.”

Kratsios added that the goal of today’s meeting was to outline “an initial path forward” and that they “intend to continue this important conversation” as the situation evolves.

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