Surveillance of patients with coronavirus is a practice that governments around the world would like to do, but due to the lack of appropriate infrastructure and community loyalty, this has proved to be a very difficult task for many. This was used by Apple and Google, which as soon as possible created their own tracking system for those infected with COVID-19 and are about to present it to the public. In the meantime, the service is going through the final stages of testing and debugging, companies offer us a look at the work they have done.
Tracking system for coronavirus patients from Apple and Google is full of imperfections
Yesterday evening, Google, together with Apple, for the first time revealed details about the device of a new tracking system for patients with coronavirus. In addition to describing restrictive measures aimed at ensuring the safety of users, the companies provided examples of applications for disease reporting. These applications will collect data about the diagnoses of users, and then send notifications to those with whom they have contacted, with a recommendation to take tests to confirm or, conversely, exclude the diagnosis in themselves.
Apps for coronavirus patients at Android
The user will have to give a ton of permissions to the app before it starts tracking it
- Government health authorities will create reporting applications;
- Applications will mandatorily request permission from users to trace contacts with infected individuals, as well as submit data on a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 to the local health authority;
- Applications will be prohibited from collecting information about the movement of users and fix the meeting place with those infected with COVID-19, and it will also be required to generally minimize the amount of accumulated information;
- To confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19 with the user, a special identifier will be used, which he will receive after passing the analysis;
- Each country will use a different coronavirus reporting application to avoid fragmentation.
How surveillance for coronavirus patients works on Android
- After the release of the Google Play Services update, in the 'Settings' you will need to enable the COVID-19 Exposure Notification tracking service;
- Download the reporting application for your country from Google Play (coming later);
- Give the application the necessary permissions and, if there is a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, inform the application about it;
- Track all contacts with infected in a special application menu (without names and meeting points).
Despite the fact that Apple and Google assure that they have taken all necessary security measures in order to protect user data, I personally doubt that they will actually be able to ensure anonymity. After all, everything that the companies have stated is crossed out by the need to issue unique identifiers to everyone who receives a positive test result for COVID-19. Do you dare? Moreover, this practice has at least two disadvantages.
Who is following me
The first drawback is that a fair share of those users who would like to participate in the new initiative Apple and Google will simply not be able to get an identification code to confirm the diagnosis in the application. Well, think for yourself, will laboratories in some regional center, where there are only two computers per institution – at the head physician and at the accountant – will be engaged in generating these identifiers? This means that a special system should deal with this. But, firstly, this system still needs to be created, because Apple and Google did not create it, and, secondly, there is no guarantee that it will be reliable enough to keep patient data from leaking.
Frankly speaking, there is no smell of anonymity here.
The second drawback, which negates all the advantages, is, of course, the great risk of declassification. Indeed, even if the Russian Ministry of Health creates a system for issuing unique identifiers to each patient with COVID-19, it is quite obvious that in this way they can be easily and easily calculated. Even the most advanced user will understand this. Therefore, it is logical that many will simply refuse to report their diagnosis, fearing persecution, further surveillance, and you never know what you can be afraid of.
In general, now I see the new system Apple and Google as a useless tool, primarily aimed at conducting surveillance. It is obvious to me that in the form in which the service exists now, this is an absolutely ineffective development that has nothing to do with real means of combating the spread of coronavirus. Still, today our people have already realized that close contacts can be fraught with infection, and therefore they try not to come close to each other. Well, and the other ways of transmitting the virus, of which there are hundreds and thousands, the system still cannot calculate.