DHS Wants Innovative COVID Safety, Privacy Tech

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking a wide range of COVID-19 technologies, including ways to secure contact tracing and open source virus reporting, per a July 24 other transaction solicitation (OTS).

As a part of DHS Science and Technology’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program, the agency plans to invest in startups and rapid prototyping to address short term COVID-19 response with broader application across DHS.

“As DHS, state and local agencies, private industry, and the public respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually resume operations safely within the context of a COVID-19 environment, there exists the need for solutions for a variety of purposes across DHS, as well as our state and local and other Federal partners,” the OTS stated.

DHS emphasized that it will be prioritizing security, privacy, interoperability, enterprise lifecycle management, and a high degree of usability in the tech proposals. While DHS provided five use cases to inspire new tech solicitations, it clarified that the use cases are only meant “to give some context for interested parties.” The use cases include:

  • Secure and private contact tracing apps compatible with smart phone technologies;
  • Video analytics for self-screening at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to minimize contact between officers and passengers;
  • Methods to rapidly disinfect surfaces at TSA and other DHS facilities;
  • The collection and integration of open source COVID-19 reporting data; and
  • Non-invasive, non-disruptive, and privacy-preserving methods of COVID-19 screening.

Phase one awards will range between $50,000 and $200,000. The project will consist of four phases, totaling up to $800,000 in project awards.

DHS will hold a virtual industry day on the program on August 18. Responses will be accepted on a rolling basis through September 30.

Katie Malone
About Katie Malone
Katie Malone is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.