UK tracing app

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Old 5th May 2020, 10:39 AM
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I don't know if any of you have been following the UK's contact tracing app?
If so, what are your feelings about it?

I have an instinctive distrust of it. Firstly I don't like the fact that the developer chosen to develop it has such close connections with the government and in particular the Vote Leave campaign. It wouldn't surprise me if in years to come there turns out to have been a lot of corruption within the murky network of the current Tory movers and shakers.
Secondly I'm not persuaded that the whole project will work effectively. That's based partly on what I've read, and partly on the government's track record with IT projects.

There is probably a high degree of prejudice and cynicism involved in those two reactions so maybe they're unjustified, but taken together they're enough to put me off. If I wasn't sure it would work but I wasn't worried about how my data would be used, I might give it a go because what's to lose. If I didn't trust the developer but I was convinced it would work impeccably I mioght swallow my reluctance and decide it was worth the risk. But taken together, I'm not keen.

And the clincher is that there is very patchy network coverage where I am currently locked down, plus my mobile data usage is pay as you go via sfr. If the app is active all the time, it's going to get expensive on international roaming, am I right? And since the place I seem to go most is the village shop, and there's no coverage at all in the village, I can't see how it's going to benefit me in any case.

Someone please correct me if I'm not thinking this through properly.

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Old 5th May 2020, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
...Someone please correct me if I'm not thinking this through properly.
Well, I can't say you are right in what you are thinking. But, that is just because I don't really know enough to judge. However, I can answer your question... I definitely think you are thinking about this in a proper, rational, structured manner.
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Old 5th May 2020, 10:56 AM
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Thanks for the vote of confidence Berkinet

Apparently it's being trialled in the Isle of Wight (which seems an odd choice because from what I hear mobile coverage there is quite hit and miss) so I guess we will all be urged to adopt it in the near future and made to feel that we're not good citizens and not doing our social duty if we don't. I would just like to feel confident in my decision not to.

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Old 5th May 2020, 11:06 AM
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From the Guardian (yes I know but you have to read things somewhere, and anywhere is better than the bbc)

Hancock: 'do your duty download the app'
Hancock also suggested the public have a “duty” to install the contact-tracing app on their smartphones.

“If you download the app you are doing your duty and you’re helping save lives,” he told BBC Breakfast.


versus

The Health Service Journal reported that the app had so far failed tests needed to be included in the NHS app library.

There are also concerns at high levels about how users’ privacy will be protected once they log that they have coronavirus symptoms, and become “traceable”, and how this information will be used.

Senior figures told HSJ that it had been hard to assess the app because the government was “going about it in a kind of a hamfisted way. They haven’t got clear versions, so it’s been impossible to get fixed code base from them for NHS Digital to test. They keep changing it all over the place.”

HSJ’s source described the app as “a bit wobbly”, but added that it was not a “big disaster” the app will not be included in the official NHS store at this stage, because it is at an early development stage. However, they also expressed concern about whether it will be able to pass in the near future.

The government insisted the HSJ report was untrue.

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Old 5th May 2020, 11:07 AM
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Apropos tracking by app in general. It seems to me you have to have a low enough incidence of new cases to make tracking feasible. That is, with too many positive hits, there is no way any agency or individual could possibly react/respond meaningfully to the data.

For example, if the app says you have contacted 2 other people, that is a total of two relationships to be traced. But, if each of the other persons in that group had 2 other contacts, there would now be 6 contacts to trace. You can see as the number of contacts grows much beyond 3 or 4, it quickly becomes unmanageable. So, if people think tracking will replace confinement, they do not really understand the problem. Confinement is necessary to get us to a level where tracking (and isolation of the sick) can work.
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Old 5th May 2020, 11:13 AM
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And... one more Orwellian thought. The U.K. is already one of the most surveilled countries in the world. (Just watch Midsummer.) If you then give the state the ability to know where you are at any moment the consequences are frightening: Big Brother can not only see what is happening, they will know instantly who is doing it.
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Old 5th May 2020, 11:27 AM
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I haven't been following the UK app, however the French one is not ready yet, may not be approved, and I am definitely not keen on it.
The Australian app (COVIDSafe) is up and running and has been downloaded some 5 million times (they need an awful lot more than that) - they had put in heaps of legislation to protect the data and make those using it unidentifiable, but it is being running by Amazon and there are circumstances in which Amazon could not refuse to give the data. Nonetheless it really doesn't work with iPhones and because it relies on Bluetooth doesn't work very well overall.

Frankly, I personally would not download any of them, and AFAIK none of my Aussie friends have downloaded COVIDSafe. But then, I am not at all keen on anything at all on the internet that tracks me anyway, be it government or a private business.

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Old 5th May 2020, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
From the Guardian (yes I know but you have to read things somewhere, and anywhere is better than the bbc)

Hancock: 'do your duty download the app'
Hancock also suggested the public have a “duty” to install the contact-tracing app on their smartphones.

“If you download the app you are doing your duty and you’re helping save lives,” he told BBC Breakfast.


versus

The Health Service Journal reported that the app had so far failed tests needed to be included in the NHS app library.

There are also concerns at high levels about how users’ privacy will be protected once they log that they have coronavirus symptoms, and become “traceable”, and how this information will be used.

Senior figures told HSJ that it had been hard to assess the app because the government was “going about it in a kind of a hamfisted way. They haven’t got clear versions, so it’s been impossible to get fixed code base from them for NHS Digital to test. They keep changing it all over the place.”

HSJ’s source described the app as “a bit wobbly”, but added that it was not a “big disaster” the app will not be included in the official NHS store at this stage, because it is at an early development stage. However, they also expressed concern about whether it will be able to pass in the near future.

The government insisted the HSJ report was untrue.
Well they would wouldn't they, just like they denied all the findings of the UN report into poverty and austerity in the UK. The report concluded that austerity was not necessary and it was a mean nasty way of treating the poor and that the UK government (and I'm paraphrasing here) did so to cull the poorest and most vulnerable of the population in a game of social engineering.
I wouldn't trust the morons in the Tory Government Cabinet or the clown of a PM as far as I could toss a caber. And I certainly wouldn't trust Marc Warner or his brother Ben who is a data mining 'scientist'. It also seems odd to me that Faculty, (who were involved in data mining for Vote Leave) an AI startup and is working with Palantir an American data company has been awarded 7 government contracts in the last 18 months.
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Old 5th May 2020, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Tigerlillie View Post
...And I certainly wouldn't trust Marc Warner or his brother Ben who is a data mining 'scientist'. It also seems odd to me that Faculty, (who were involved in data mining for Vote Leave) an AI startup and is working with Palantir an American data company has been awarded 7 government contracts in the last 18 months.
From CNBC:
Palantir, a secretive company co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, worked with Cambridge Analytica, the political analysis firm that harvested data from Facebook users...

...Cambridge Analytica claimed it worked on all the digital aspects of Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Thiel is a well-known supporter of Trump and donated over $1 million to his campaign. He is also on the board of Facebook. Steve Bannon, who was a top executive at Cambridge Analytica, led Trump’s campaign.
Any more questions?

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Old 5th May 2020, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berkinet View Post
From CNBC:
Palantir, a secretive company co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, worked with Cambridge Analytica, the political analysis firm that harvested data from Facebook users...

...Cambridge Analytica claimed it worked on all the digital aspects of Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Thiel is a well-known supporter of Trump and donated over $1 million to his campaign. He is also on the board of Facebook. Steve Bannon, who was a top executive at Cambridge Analytica, led Trump’s campaign.
Any more questions?
I have a friend here, a very good friend, who is an IT consultant/contractor, he doesn't work in that field anymore as he took early retirement. He lived in the States for about 7 years or so many years ago and did some contract work for Microsoft, the stories he has told me about how companies mine data would make your hair curl, that's why the law about cookies came into force, however, there are other ways that data can be mined without you even knowing it especially if you are a frequent user of social media platforms.


Quote:
Originally Posted by berkinet View Post
And... one more Orwellian thought. The U.K. is already one of the most surveilled countries in the world. (Just watch Midsummer.) If you then give the state the ability to know where you are at any moment the consequences are frightening: Big Brother can not only see what is happening, they will know instantly who is doing it.
Why do you think that Governments do not like apps like Whatsapp who have end to end encryption and are trying to find ways of getting these apps to put a secret back door entry into their software?
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