Managing infection risk and privacy, ShareTrace gives people security to return to work and social life

Picture of three phone screens displaying the ShareTrace App

As America and the world take steps to get back to work and resume social activities, a team of researchers, developers, designers, and students continue to refine ShareTrace, an open-source project that originated originally started from Hack-from-Home, a virtual, global hackathon, held in early April.


The ShareTrace app is a smart digital risk assessment service that provides contact tracing in a privacy-preserving way and offers additional personalized infection risk management tools, which individual users, communities, and employers can use the tool to fight the spread of COVID-19. Unlike applications being developed by Google and Apple, the ShareTrace team’s solution is based on the growing concerns of inadequate protection of personal privacy while addressing immediate public health concerns due to COVID-19.  

ShareTrace is a collaboration project between the research organization HAT-LAB and Case Western Reserve University, and uses state-of-the-art decentralized Personal Data Accounts (PDA) to store symptoms and contact histories of individual ShareTrace users. Its user-friendly design offers accurate and early risk assessment for individuals based on symptoms and contact history. The ShareTrace app stores all the data it needs in PDAs owned and controlled by each user. Only people given permission by the account owner can see this data.

With ShareTrace, PDAs are empowered to compute private risk scores. Users seeking to understand their network risk can send an anonymized risk score to the ShareTrace server, which uses it as a digital twin and computes hyperlocal network risk scores based on the interactions people have with each other. In this model, the individual risk scores are recalculated based upon their encounter histories, and the updated risk scores are propagated back down the PDAs owned by the users.

ShareTrace also deals with the problem of asymptomatic carriers. It uses a hyperlocal network propagation model in quickly and effectively calculating and notifying the exposure risks from direct and indirect encounters.

Interested users can sign up to be a beta tester or add their name on the waitlist for the public release in early July.

Learn more about ShareTrace capabilities in fighting the spread of COVID-19 by visiting and reading the ShareTrace technology white paper for information and insights on Personal Data Accounts, its privacy preserving back end architecture, and network model.