Daniel Halliday
May 8 · Last update 11 days ago.

Coronavirus vs privacy: Will tracing apps do more harm than good?

Tracing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is probably the best way for countries to stand a chance of controlling the viral outbreak. Contact tracing is already underway in the number of different countries and has shown a high degree of efficacy in countries that have handled the pandemic well, such as Singapore. However as more countries are rolling out their versions of contact tracing apps controversy has arisen around the issue of privacy, who handles the sensitive data, and even who gets to decide how these methods will work. Does using tracing apps on smart phones pose a risk to privacy? Will it be as effective as it is proposed to be? What are the best methods of contact tracing? Could contact tracing apps do more harm than good? bbc.com/news/world-asia-51866102
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No, but a decentralised app would address the issue of privacy
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No, a centralised app would be most effective
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No, but a decentralised app would address the issue of privacy

Tracing apps open up an amazing possibility of making viral tracing cheaper and easier than the manual contact tracing that existed in the past. But this has also led to security concerns surrounding invasive use of the centralised app by governments or even hackers, prompting tech companies such as Apple and Google to develop decentralised contact tracing capabilities for their smart phone devices. The Apple and Google methods do not require the app to constantly wake up a Bluetooth receiver, saving battery life in a users device and therefore making the system more workable and completely anonymous. Decentralised apps allow tracing to go ahead while respecting human rights.

theguardian.com/world/2020/may/03/covid-19-tracking-app-must-satisfy-human-rights-and-data-laws washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-cybersecurity-202/2020/05/05/the-cybersecurity-202-coronavirus-tracking-apps-spark-security-concerns/5eb05603602ff15fb00246d2 amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/04/contact-tracing-apps-privacy-in-europe

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Daniel Halliday
May 15
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No, a centralised app would be most effective

The practice of contact tracing is nothing new, but smart phone apps are now revolutionising this indispensable process aimed at reducing the spread of infection. Two types of contact tracing apps have been proposed during COVID-19, centralised models that are held on central servers and decentralised models that rely on encrypted messaging on phones to maintain privacy. The UK's National Health Service is producing its own app that, unlike the interface supported by Apple and Google, will be stored on a centralised server, enabling the NHS to link tracking data with user's identities and medical records. If using a decentralised model the NHS would be left with no way to link the tracing data to a named patient in their system and would therefore not be able to accurately map the spread, not knowing if contact tracing led to an effectively isolated patient, a false positive or even further spread of the virus. People that use smart phones are not the kind of people that really care all that much about their privacy, if they were they wouldn’t use service like Facebook that use and sell their data, this will therefore not be seen as a major infringement of privacy if it can effectively curb the virus.

news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-uk-contact-tracing-app-160602747.html npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/10/814129534/how-the-painstaking-work-of-contact-tracing-can-slow-the-spread-of-an-outbreak usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/21/millennials-personal-info-online/2087989

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Daniel Halliday
May 10
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DH edited this paragraph
The practice of contact tracing is nothing new, but smart phone apps are now revolutionising this indispensable process aimed at reducing the spread of infection. Two types of contact tracing apps have been proposed during COVID-19, centralised models that are held on central servers and decentralised models that rely on encrypted messaging on phones to maintain privacy. The UK's National Health Service is producing its own app that, unlike the interface supported by Apple and Google, will be stored on a centralised server, enabling the NHS to link tracking data with user's identities and medical records. If using a decentralised model the NHS would be left with no way to link the tracing data to a named patient in their system and would therefore not be able to accurately map the spread, not knowing if contact tracing led to an effectively isolated patient, a false positive or even further spread of the virus. People that use smart phones are not the kind of people that really care all that much about their privacy, if they were they wouldn’t use service like Facebook that use and sell their data, this will therefore not be seen as a major infringement of privacy if it can effectively curb the virus.
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