Covid phone tracking

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shpalman
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by shpalman » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:04 pm

bob sterman wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:42 pm
headshot wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:22 pm
From what I've read, the UK is proposing a centralised app that will request access to all your contacts etc.
That will go down well!

Passing on contact information for people you've actually had physical contact with is one thing. That is something quite different.
That's not what "contacts" and "centralised" means in the context of the app.

The wired link says "when people say they may have coronavirus symptoms the data about the number of devices they have been in contact with, plus the signal strength and signal duration, are transmitted back to a central, anonymised database".

The 3blue1brown link explains the operation of an app which uploads all the recent output strings from a covid-positive user to a central database, so that other users' phones can check if they've been in contact with a covid-positive user's phone. i.e. the contact checking is decentralised, because it takes place on a user's phone and the user gets an alert directly.

The alternative is that a user's phone uploads all the output strings it has received to a central database, the contact checking is done there, and the alerts are sent back to phones whose apps picked up output strings which match covid-positive cases.

Article which is nearly a month old: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52355028

Both kinds of app need a "central" database even if the contact checking is done on your own phone, and neither kind of app means "the phone numbers saved in your address book" when it refers to "contacts".
molto tricky

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headshot
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by headshot » Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:30 pm

App delayed until September or October, even though it’s vital in the quest to prevent a second wave...which should be in full swing by September...

https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... oronavirus

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by TopBadger » Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:06 pm

headshot wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:30 pm
App delayed until September or October, even though it’s vital in the quest to prevent a second wave...which should be in full swing by September...

https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... oronavirus
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by shpalman » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:22 pm

The Italian app is called Immuni, but lots of morons have managed to find a completely unrelated app called Immune System and have proceeded to leave increasingly gammon-faced 1-star reviews about how an Italian app for Italian people should have an Italian name and this is example of an Anglophile tendency which seeks to erase the Italian language and it's a completely different app you fuckwits.
molto tricky

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shpalman
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by shpalman » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:27 pm

There are also morons on facebook saying that "if you've installed the app Immuni please delete me from your phone and unfriend me on facebook I don't consent to being tracked" or some sh.t like that to which that's not how the app works and you want the people you're likely to meet to have the app installed, it means they're less likely to have been exposed to the virus without knowing it.
molto tricky

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Fishnut
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Fishnut » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:31 pm

This may be a really stupid question but here goes anyway. Is the UK app available for download yet and if so, what's it called?

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:46 pm

Thank you for your question. An answer is not available at this time. Please ask again in 2023.
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RoMo
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by RoMo » Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:53 am

I've seen some scant data on a few of our cases that weren't tested on site; the main stand out is the significant delay between the test result and contact tracing happening, around 5 days on average.

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by EllyCat » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:21 pm

RoMo wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:53 am
I've seen some scant data on a few of our cases that weren't tested on site; the main stand out is the significant delay between the test result and contact tracing happening, around 5 days on average.
Given the wait to get a test booked, then the wait for results (I’ve heard it’s still a couple of days each round my way, though n=1 etc) that means asking me who I saw two weeks ago. Great!

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Fishnut » Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:25 am

Boris Johnson’s patience wears thin over tracing app

FT story so article is reproduced below:
Boris Johnson and his senior Downing Street advisers are growing increasingly impatient at delays to the launch of the NHS’s coronavirus tracing app, pressing health officials for a rethink even as a new trial is set for next week.

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, pressure from Number 10 has been stepped up in the past few days with one telling the Financial Times that the prime minister wants serious consideration to be given to a different version of the app, which incorporates Google and Apple technology.

One UK government official said there was “frustration with how long everything takes but the reality is that we are building something from scratch”. The official added: “It is obviously taking longer than people would have hoped.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock unveiled the tracing app at the start of May, insisting it would allow the UK “to take a more targeted approach to lockdown, while still safely containing the disease” and suggesting it would form the centrepiece of the tracing effort.

But it attracted controversy from the start with questions raised by privacy campaigners over the NHS’s plan to gather data in a central database and concerns over whether the technology would work.

Launching the test and trace programme late last month, its head, Dido Harding, described the app as “the cherry on the cake, rather than the cake itself” and refused to be drawn on a timetable for its implementation. A revised version of the app, which corrects previous glitches, is expected to be rolled out on the Isle of Wight early next week.

NHSX, the UK health service’s digital innovation arm, had already instructed its developers to begin building a second version of the app using the Google and Apple template, a move described by health officials at the time as a back-up option.

Switching to the Google and Apple technology would bring Britain into line with those being used by other European countries and make the app compatible for any Britons travelling abroad. Italy and Switzerland are expected to roll out versions of the app in the next few weeks.

The Google and Apple system also enables a key bluetooth function that detects proximity between phones without running down the battery — a problem NHSX developers are still struggling to solve on some devices.

However, the main stumbling block for the UK app team is that Google and Apple will not allow their technology to be used in any app that attempts wholesale collection of data — which NHSX regards as essential in tracking the spread of the virus.

Christophe Fraser, an epidemiologist at Oxford university who is advising on the app, said last week that the question for ministers of whether to switch to a different design using Google and Apple technology remains live. “That’s a policy choice . . . that will be addressed at a point in time,” he told MPs.

But just switching to the US technology companies’ version may not be straightforward. "[It] isn’t just this existing technology that we can copy and paste for an app to be ready tomorrow. It’s just as complicated,” said the government official.

Following the first phase of the Isle of Wight trial, which started in early May, developers have adapted the NHSX app so that it now only triggers alerts to a user in response to one of their contacts receiving a positive Covid-19 test result. Previously it was configured to alert people if one of their recent contacts reported symptoms of the virus. This change is partly because of the UK’s increased testing capacity.

People familiar with the thinking around the project said that ditching the current version would push back the app by at least two months, making it more likely that the original NHSX version would be rolled out first, leaving the option open to switch at a later date. NHSX declined to comment.

Meanwhile, an independent group of scientists said on Tuesday that the government’s test and trace strategy is “not fit for purpose” and has caused a loss of “moral authority”.

Independent Sage, an advisory group formed by 12 scientists as an alternative to the government’s top scientific advisory group, proposed instead a locally devolved system that would hand greater roles to existing local health systems, community doctors, nurses and environmental health officers.
We're never going to have a functioning tracking app, are we. Why are we "building something from scratch" when other countries have successfully created tracking apps?

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:03 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:25 am
We're never going to have a functioning tracking app, are we. Why are we "building something from scratch" when other countries have successfully created tracking apps?
As with the whole "didn't get the EU's email" thing, I think Johnson and co are very keen to push a "Britain Stands Alone" narrative rather than risk doing anything that suggests international collaboration can be useful in times of change.

There is possibly also an issue of letting perfect be the enemy of the good (Johnson is, after all, a noted perfectionist). This is clearly a case where an ok-ish app yesterday is miles better than a good app tomorrow, and it beggars belief that they haven't figured that out yet.

AIUI the app is being developed by an in-house team at the NHS, so there seems to be less room for the usual Tory snouts-in-trough corruption in this case.
now I'm falling asleep and she's calling acab

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Millennie Al » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:32 am

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:25 am
Why are we "building something from scratch" when other countries have successfully created tracking apps?
Because the other apps respect privacy, and it's built in, so it's necessary to produce the whole thing from scratch to violate our privacy.
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Martin_B » Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:39 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:32 am
Fishnut wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:25 am
Why are we "building something from scratch" when other countries have successfully created tracking apps?
Because the other apps respect privacy, and it's built in, so it's necessary to produce the whole thing from scratch to violate our privacy.
Also, the UK can't possibly use the same system as any other EU country, coz Brexit!
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by PeteB » Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:57 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:03 pm
...

AIUI the app is being developed by an in-house team at the NHS, so there seems to be less room for the usual Tory snouts-in-trough corruption in this case.
I don't think it is an in-house team at the NHS, I thought it was awarded to Dom's mate's brother (without tendering) that worked on the Vote Leave stuff

https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla/stat ... 04?lang=en

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:29 pm

PeteB wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:57 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:03 pm
...

AIUI the app is being developed by an in-house team at the NHS, so there seems to be less room for the usual Tory snouts-in-trough corruption in this case.
I don't think it is an in-house team at the NHS, I thought it was awarded to Dom's mate's brother (without tendering) that worked on the Vote Leave stuff

https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla/stat ... 04?lang=en
Ahhh ok, I thought NHSX were doing it but it sounds like they've subbed it out.

I guess that explains it, then. They're not using one of the other apps available because they want to funnel public money to their mates (and probably back to themselves).
now I'm falling asleep and she's calling acab

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Tessa K » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:16 pm

More than 31,000 close contacts were identified during the first week of the test and trace system in England, figures show.

Of those, 85% were reached in 24 hours and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

This was from 8,000 people testing positive for coronavirus - two-thirds of whom provided details of their close contacts.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53006938

Presumably, if you're contacted , get tested and don't have it, you don't have to self-isolate?

Have we established what close contact means?

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:45 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:16 pm
More than 31,000 close contacts were identified during the first week of the test and trace system in England, figures show.

Of those, 85% were reached in 24 hours and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

This was from 8,000 people testing positive for coronavirus - two-thirds of whom provided details of their close contacts.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53006938

Presumably, if you're contacted , get tested and don't have it, you don't have to self-isolate?

Have we established what close contact means?
Someone would need to be tested several times, as they may test negative during the incubation period.

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by shpalman » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:34 am

The Italian app goes live nationwide today.

I can't comment on how well the technology actually works (see above about it not being completely obvious that a strong signal means a close contact, and the api may not even allow access to particularly specific information in that regard) but the interface of the app is nicely designed and written, with a very good English translation.
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by peter1962 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:18 pm

I worry that we'll get something like the TornadoGuard app.
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shpalman
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by shpalman » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:48 pm

If a specific person downloads the app the app will do nothing to prevent that person catching covid.

It's not like it will give you a notification or an alarm as you start to get too close to someone who has covid.

Even having advance warning that you've been exposed isn't particularly helpful for your own clinical outcomes at this stage, since we don't have any low-risk prophylactic antivirals.

But the app will at least tell you to isolate yourself so that you don't infect anyone else.

Still, you have to let people feel as though they're protecting themselves or else they probably wouldn't be so keen to download it.
molto tricky

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Gfamily » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:13 pm

The Norwegians' have had to delete all the data collected from their app - as it collected location data that the country's Data Protection Authority deemed was unnecessary and an excessive intrusion into privacy.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53051783
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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by shpalman » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:19 pm

molto tricky

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Fishnut » Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:24 pm

This is an interesting, if depressing, piece on the state of the track and trace app. It makes a very good argument that the Isle of Wight isn't a very good place to test the app given "it’s a relatively closed community with lots of physical distancing between strangers". The latest Skeptics with a K podcast took a look at the app. Apparently, the trials in the IoW have found that because of the ~30m range of Bluetooth, people self-isolating in neighbouring houses were being picked up as being in proximity to each other creating the potential for a huge number of false-positives.

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Re: Covid phone tracking

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:04 pm

Meanwhile, my phone won't even reliably connect to the Bluetooth speakers next to it on the table.
now I'm falling asleep and she's calling acab

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