Don’t Upgrade Your Phone’s Software

Update! Apple and Google have teamed together to create “coronavirus-tracking software”. I put it in quotes because you all knows what this means. Once their tracking software is one your phone, it’s never coming off.

Apple and Google are teaming together for the first time to create tracking software, much like Singapore’s TraceTogether, by using our phones’ Bluetooth. The app will supposedly, “alert users if they come into direct contact with someone who has the coronavirus.”

According to Apple’s press release, the two companies will enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building the functionality into the underlying platforms.

“Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.”

Apple Newsroom

Apple/Google Contact Tracing Highlights:

  • Participants choose to opt-in
  • The opt-in enables interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.
  • Google and Apple plan to publish their work for others to analyze.
  • The push will be world-wide, not just in the United States.

The contact tracing will be available as a downloadable app in May but the
“tech giants plan to build the tracking technology directly into their operating systems to streamline the process down the line” – New York Post.

According to the contact training specs:

  • The Contact Tracing does not use location, only Bluetooth beaconing to detect proximity.
  • Your proximity ID changes every 15 minutes. A “Daily Tracing Key” needs to be correlated to each user.
  • Proximity identifiers obtained from other devices are processed exclusively on device.
  • Users decide whether to contribute to contact tracing.
  • If diagnosed with COVID-19, users consent to sharing Diagnosis Keys with the server.
  • Users have transparency into their participation in contact tracing.

Questions, so many Questions.

If diagnosed with COVID-19, users consent to sharing “Diagnosis Keys” with the server.

  • How does that happen?
  • Do labs automatically send the results to Apple and Google?
  • Does that depend on users typing in on their devices if they have COVID or not?
  • What exact data is in a “Diagnosis Key”?

What exact transparency do people have in their contact tracing participation?

How exactly does this help?

Asian countries that use contact tracing apps use them to keep people in their homes. Since there is no cure at the moment for COVID-19, herd immunity is the only way we move past this. What is the point of a contact tracing app if not to tell government officials everyone who has COVID and to lock them up?

Plus, how do you change your status after you get better from COVID-19? Are you stored in a system somewhere forever?

Apple and Google think they can save the world, but not this time. Contact tracing apps only lead to distrust. We already face so many privacy issues with tech companies who monetize our data. There is no way I’m trusting them with something like this.

Featured Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

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One response to “Don’t Upgrade Your Phone’s Software”

  1. Very insightful. Thanks for asking the right questions and guiding us to think of a few more.

    Liked by 1 person

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