Folks in the UK, about the government’s contact tracing app made by folks from Vote Leave & GCHQ:
- Do not download it.
- Do not use it.
- Tell friends & family not to either.
This is a mass surveillance app. It won’t protect you. But it will create a very dangerous precedent.
@aral Next time it will be a pushed OS update.
@aral I'm going to call this tinfoil hat paranoia in the face of a very real and harmful disease.
I share your wider concerns about mass surveillance but it is an honest attempt at dealing with a fatal pandemic that is decimating population and economy alike.
Please consider the wider ramifications of "civil dissent" at this point in time.
@dch @aral even if you don’t think it’s a privacy problem, it is a problem that contact tracing apps 1. can’t logically work if you know even the first thing about the technology involved and basic statistics. 2. don’t work based on the evidence from countries that have tried. 3. are promoted under the dangerously false pretence that they somehow protect you from getting infected like a digital talisman or, as the Australian PM called it “sunscreen”.
@dch @aral it’s not an honest attempt to help anything. it’s an incompetent and impotent attempt to apply a technology solution to a non technology problem that will kill more people than it saves by giving people a false sense of security, and getting them to stop doing other measures that do work.
@dch I see that governments want too look like doing something, but contact tracing based on Bluetooth are near useless. They just don't know enough about the circumstances of a contact to be able to create a valid recommendation out of that. To quote Bruce Schneier, "This is just something governments want to do for the hell of it. To me, it's just techies doing techie things because they don't know what else to do."
@paulfree14 @dch @aral I wish what Aral was saying was tinfoil hat, but regrettably it is not.
Contact tracing apps won't be very effective. There will be lots of false positives. Bluetooth doesn't detect windows or thin walls. Like all radio signals it will reflect off of some objects and surfaces. Many poorer people live in dense housing such that even if there are separating walls they may still be within bluetooth range. This will create a situation where scapegoating narratives "backed by the numbers" are easy to construct, and mob actions driven by combined fear of infection and economic motives should not be underestimated.
Keep the contact tracing human. Be polite and respectful when asking about contacts. Be skeptical of scapegoating narratives about subsections of the population. Technology cannot solve all problems. Especially this one.
I routinely carry and use *two* mobile devices (one mostly acts as a modem for my car satnav); and have a habit of leaving both in the glove compartment of my car when I arrive at work. I am often parked 10 or more metres away from my office, lots of other people/vehicles go past (nearly all the businesses here are key industries)
Were I to install this app, it would surely just fill up with wrong/flawed data as it would trigger on people I don't even meet?
@vfrmedia @bob @paulfree14 @dch @aral Also many houses on streets have the public pavement right out front, so anyone passing by the window could be within bluetooth range of anyone inside. In the discussions so far on the topic of contact tracing apps nobody has mentioned things like this, which are bound to produce a lot of false positives.
@hector chill dude, did you miss any words in your reply?
Tracking & tracing is still our #2 defence along with #1 staying at home & isolated. I believe that, if you're already carrying a smartphone, then installing an app to facilitate this is not onerous, compared to the alternatives.
I'm not asking you to stop thinking critically, quite the reverse, just to consider that your position looks like a bona fide conspiracy theory.
ofc Govt powers will need trimming post pandemic ...
@hector and by labelling every action a govt conspiracy you risk doing real damage as the virus could spread further and faster if people don't participate.
I'm sure the apps all can be improved, along with govt oversight, and I'm sure we in the tech community can do that. But blocking it outright seems extremely counter-productive. While I work from home, my community does not. T&T is part of easing the devastating impact on our communities.
@hector @aral @email@example.com these figures are similar to New Zealand. island nations and strict lockdown policies. UK went too slow and not strict enough but maybe now it’s looking ok. I’m really worried that people haven’t the discipline to stay masked, distant, and wash hands, to prevent further infections.
@aral It's deeply fucking insidious how private entities tied to Vote Leave, including so many data scientists / devs, keep worming their way into significant positions in this government
@aral Same in France, probably many other coutries too
@aral because of Coronavirus in Bolivia, the official government questionnaire ask your name and personal data.
I think that is no good.
@aral Don't forget the 'false safety': "The app doesn't say I need to worry, I'm fine!"
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