Your phone can send you an alert if you were near someone who has coronavirus

ObsidianJones

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 29, 2020
780
885
98
Country
United States

While I get the purpose, and can praise the genius about it, this is some next level Big Brother shit.

It can be implemented in many ways. If a registered sex offender is near by. Someone who's just out of jail. And.. depending on how the wind blows, Who's Muslim. Who's a leftist/Right-wing.

I appreciate the good idea and intentions this was built on, but well... there's a saying about Hell and a path...
 

McElroy

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
2,380
51
53
Finland
We've had the app for that since August 31st. Works as described in the article:
For the exposure notifications to be effective, Android users must turn on Bluetooth and download their state's Covid-19 notification app.
and people must put in their own positive test result voluntarily and then that informs other users who have had the app on.
When someone who uses the feature tests positive for coronavirus, he or she gets a PIN from a health official to enter into their phone.
Seems fair and square for as long as it's not mandatory to use.

I don't use it myself as there is no need to atm.
 

Silvanus

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 26, 2020
1,252
806
118
Country
United Kingdom
The UK has had a contact-tracing app working from Bluetooth signals for a while now.

However, as with most of the Covid contracts the Conservatives have given out, development for it was passed to some shifty company with Conservative party connections. I won't be getting it.
 

Worgen

Follower of the Glorious Sun Butt.
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
2,276
790
118
Gender
Whatever, just wash your hands.
I appreciate the good idea and intentions this was built on, but well... there's a saying about Hell and a path...
Pretty much any new tech can be used for bullshit, this is no different.
 

tippy2k2

Beloved Tyrant
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
8,614
496
88
Yeah, I don't want no Big Brother tracking me!!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go outside with this device that is never not in my pocket that basically anyone with some know-how can track. Maybe I'll post something to Twitter or Facebook or Tik Tok or [insert your favorite company that tracks you constantly] about this new food place that I found on Google when the ad mysteriously popped up after I talked on Discord with some buddies about having a craving for this kind of food...
 

Satinavian

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
255
97
33
The app here does work only on peer to peer basis. Contacts are tracked only on the smartphones themself and only for a limited time. After you confirm youe infection only those contacts on your phone are notified, but even those are not informed which contact is the reason for the notification.

The whole thing also has open code, so no hidden spyware present.

Originally the gouvernment wanted some central data collection but privacy law advocates and IT professionals protested and eventually they settled for this pretty safe solution for the official app.


So the German app is pretty safe and has been around since the summer.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Dwarvenhobble

Burnhardt

Regular Member
Legacy
Apr 23, 2020
19
10
13
Country
United Kingdom
Gender
Does it really matter?
The UK has had a contact-tracing app working from Bluetooth signals for a while now.

However, as with most of the Covid contracts the Conservatives have given out, development for it was passed to some shifty company with Conservative party connections. I won't be getting it.
To be honest, like all covid restrictions, its works on the honour system.
 

Silvanus

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 26, 2020
1,252
806
118
Country
United Kingdom
To be honest, like all covid restrictions, its works on the honour system.
That it does. But the honour I'm doubting is that of the company running it, who I suspect have been handed the contract not because they're the best people for it, but because of some seedy financial connection they have with the Tories.
 

Shadyside

Bad Hombre
Legacy
Aug 20, 2020
1,836
467
88
Country
Republic of Texas
Gender
Hombre
Yeah, I don't want no Big Brother tracking me!!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go outside with this device that is never not in my pocket that basically anyone with some know-how can track. Maybe I'll post something to Twitter or Facebook or Tik Tok or [insert your favorite company that tracks you constantly] about this new food place that I found on Google when the ad mysteriously popped up after I talked on Discord with some buddies about having a craving for this kind of food...
Which is why I don't use social media. And the times that I do use facebook for business, I used a fake name, birthday, and IP address. I don't have that many apps on me and I am planning on getting a burner phone soon.
 

Revnak

We must imagine Sisyphus horny
Legacy
May 25, 2020
2,334
2,134
118
Country
USA
Hyper corp future looking bleak
 

Gordon_4

The Big Engine
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,308
639
118
Australia
Uh, Australia has had one of these for six or seven months. Welcome to yesterday. I didn’t use it myself because I looked at the past few large scale government IT projects - The Census and RoboDebt - and decided that an unmitigated fuckup was inevitable and didn’t want to get caught in its wake.
 

Trunkage

Nascent Orca
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
2,467
830
118
Brisbane
Gender
Cyborg
Uh, Australia has had one of these for six or seven months. Welcome to yesterday. I didn’t use it myself because I looked at the past few large scale government IT projects - The Census and RoboDebt - and decided that an unmitigated fuckup was inevitable and didn’t want to get caught in its wake.
I look at the US system of recovering debt and see that it’s just a Mafia system. Robodebt was damaging to so many people. But it’s still not as bad as the US
 

Dwarvenhobble

Is on the Gin
May 26, 2020
1,959
158
68
Country
United Kingdom

While I get the purpose, and can praise the genius about it, this is some next level Big Brother shit.

It can be implemented in many ways. If a registered sex offender is near by. Someone who's just out of jail. And.. depending on how the wind blows, Who's Muslim. Who's a leftist/Right-wing.

I appreciate the good idea and intentions this was built on, but well... there's a saying about Hell and a path...
We have this shit in the UK.

Might as well use it.

The UK version. Uses Bluetooth to talk with nearby devices, you scan in at places using a QR code. It collects info on bluetooth IDs it comes into contact with. If one of those tests positive for Covid-19 it warns you. You can then book tests using the app and input the code with your test results which will notify others you've been into contact with.

A for "Big Bother shit" If governments wanted they can turn on your phones geolocation system or even microphone without you knowing so the tracking app likely does less big brother stuff than your phone does normally lol.
 

Eacaraxe

Elite Member
Legacy
May 28, 2020
650
535
98
Country
United States
Most of the developed world has had this for months.

Me, I'm not entirely comfortable letting carriers and tech companies get even more data on me, let alone health data. Nor the intelligence agencies they collude and voluntarily send data to.

Maybe someday when you can't swing a dead cat on the internet without seeing news alerts about some major data breach, critical software vulnerability, deplorably bad infosec policies by big tech companies, or just plain unethical use or resale of already-farmed data, I'll consider this sort of tech anything but a plague on contemporary society. But I'm not holding out hope, considering tech companies have worked very hard to ensure government preserves the digital frontier's "wild west" status for them and no one else.
 

Schadrach

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 25, 2020
153
52
33
Country
US
after I talked on Discord with some buddies about having a craving for this kind of food...
You mean "after I talked to someone in person about having a craving for this kind of food, without ever having searched for it online or mentioned it in any app."

To the point that I've been talking to someone in person about whether or not there's an Ethiopian restaurant in the state because I think they'd enjoy it, and the first suggestion in google the next time I started a search with "e" was "ethiopian restaurants in WV." Never mentioned that particular kind of food online previously, only been to that kind of restaurant once and it was several years prior. The *only* time anything on any of my online profiles could reasonably be expected to have any association with that sort of food was that I took an Uber to get back to the hotel the one time I've had the sort of food in the past, while on vacation (I got there on foot from a subway station ~15 min away and didn't want to hoof it back to the subway, switch lines, then walk another couple of blocks back to my hotel).

this is some next level Big Brother shit.
Done right, it doesn't have to be. For example, imagine everyone's phone just emits a random number every X seconds, and records all the ones it hears from other phones as well as the ones it puts out with timestamps and keeps a 14 day log. If you get infected, your series of random numbers and timestamps is published. Your phone checks in periodically and downloads the list of timestamp/random number combos for infected persons and informs you if you might have been exposed and for how long (set a minimum number of timestamp/number pair matches to trigger an alarm, include date/time of potential exposure). There's literally no need for where you actually were or who you are to be published as part of the dataset for contact tracing.

This is the kind of thing that infuriates me - it's more than possible to do this while mostly protecting privacy, but we likely won't.
 

Dreiko

Elite Member
Legacy
May 1, 2020
1,186
294
88
CT
Country
usa
Gender
male, pronouns: your majesty/my lord/daddy
I'm not sure if this works such that if someone borrows someone else's phone without being sick themselves the phone will still give out the sick signal or not, but either way this requires people to have the app on their phones and turn it on, which I imagine people who are irresponsible enough to put others at risk outside after first being dumb enough to get themselves sick would not bother doing. Also what if you're one of those asymptomatic people so you never know you were sick to begin with, your phone would be giving out false safe messages all day.
 

Gordon_4

The Big Engine
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,308
639
118
Australia
I'm not sure if this works such that if someone borrows someone else's phone without being sick themselves the phone will still give out the sick signal or not, but either way this requires people to have the app on their phones and turn it on, which I imagine people who are irresponsible enough to put others at risk outside after first being dumb enough to get themselves sick would not bother doing. Also what if you're one of those asymptomatic people so you never know you were sick to begin with, your phone would be giving out false safe messages all day.
You know while not an unreasonable question, I’m struggling to remember the last time I loaned a phone to someone at all. It’s not like the Nokia 3310 days where the worst it may have on it is a spicy text message. Phones now contain all our personal details and even credit cards if you’re so inclined. It’s like handing over your wallet. It’s just not the done thing.
 

Dwarvenhobble

Is on the Gin
May 26, 2020
1,959
158
68
Country
United Kingdom
I'm not sure if this works such that if someone borrows someone else's phone without being sick themselves the phone will still give out the sick signal or not, but either way this requires people to have the app on their phones and turn it on, which I imagine people who are irresponsible enough to put others at risk outside after first being dumb enough to get themselves sick would not bother doing. Also what if you're one of those asymptomatic people so you never know you were sick to begin with, your phone would be giving out false safe messages all day.
Not quite.

How it works is it sends out a unique ID code.

So to give an example.

If I was ID 1445

You were ID 0243

and Obsidian was ID 0650


You go to the pub with the app on your phone running and I'm there running the app

Your phone would go "On [date] I was in contact with 1445 "

Then lets say the 2 days on you are on public Transport with Obsidian. So your phone will go "On [date] I was in contact with 0650"

So then I fall ill the and test positive and input the info my phone looks at the ID's it's had contact with for the past 7 days and tells the server "Tell all these people including 0243 (you) that they've been exposed." The app then checks and sends you and the others a message saying you've potentially been exposed and if you have symptoms to get tested.

You have had a bit of a cough developing so book in and get tested and you've got a mild case. You put your info in and it goes to the server and says "Tell 0650 and anyone else I was in contact with that they've been exposed and should self isolate and get tested if they have symptoms"
 

Gordon_4

The Big Engine
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,308
639
118
Australia
Not quite.

How it works is it sends out a unique ID code.

So to give an example.

If I was ID 1445

You were ID 0243

and Obsidian was ID 0650


You go to the pub with the app on your phone running and I'm there running the app

Your phone would go "On [date] I was in contact with 1445 "

Then lets say the 2 days on you are on public Transport with Obsidian. So your phone will go "On [date] I was in contact with 0650"

So then I fall ill the and test positive and input the info my phone looks at the ID's it's had contact with for the past 7 days and tells the server "Tell all these people including 0243 (you) that they've been exposed." The app then checks and sends you and the others a message saying you've potentially been exposed and if you have symptoms to get tested.

You have had a bit of a cough developing so book in and get tested and you've got a mild case. You put your info in and it goes to the server and says "Tell 0650 and anyone else I was in contact with that they've been exposed and should self isolate and get tested if they have symptoms"
The location data is probably used to track trends and hot spots so they can do targeted lockdowns and investigations if outbreaks consistently occur in certain places.