Coronavirus – Day #191

Congratulations, Bozo, you’ve set a new record!

Yes, today’s count of new COVID-19 cases in the UK is 6634; higher than anything achieved during the initial wave of the pandemic. I’m sure that there will be champagne for all in the Cabinet today.

Well, except for Liz Truss, whom I understand got a bit of a roasting by her own MPs today on account of being even more spectacularly useless at her job than the rest of the team.

Also today we have a new track and trace app. The original one, for which the Great British Software Industry tried to go it alone and eschew any funny foreign code, has been scrapped because it didn’t work. The new one is based solidly on the Apple/Google code that most other countries are using.

Naturally everyone is wondering how much money has been paid to Cummings’ mates to produce this, and how much of our data he’ll be selling off to further line his pockets. The answer seems to be precious little, at least according to Wired. Also the app doesn’t seem to be stealing information from our phones, or doing covert surveillance, or any of the other things that Dom is so keen on.

There are problems. It only works on fairly new versions of the Apple and Android operating systems. It also keeps bluetooth on all the time, which I gather can drain your battery fairly quickly. But for people who are out and about a lot it can be useful.

Personally I’m only going to be going out once a week to shop at Tesco. My personal biobubble is me, a collection of soft toys, and rather more computers than I’m prepared to admit. Most of the time I shouldn’t need it. Also I’m giving it a few days before downloading it, just in case someone finds some hidden code that shouldn’t be there.

2 thoughts on “Coronavirus – Day #191

  1. About the app: there contact tracing API it uses is pretty good at privacy – no personal data is required and it also has some protections, for example the app can’t track the user’s location in addition to the Bluetooth tracing even if the developers wanted (at least the iOS version prevents this and I think the same applies to the Google version as well). So there isn’t much data to sell.

    The tracing API uses the low power Bluetooth version which doesn’t drain the battery very much. This is also the reason why a recent version of the OS can be required. For iPhones, the required iOS version works in any phone released during the past 6 years. Any iPhone older than that doesn’t have the required low power Bluetooth chip so they couldn’t run the app anyway, but I think 6 years of phone models is pretty good. (Again, cannot speak for the Android situation as I haven’t followed that closely.)

    1. Yeah, the Wired article was quite postive about the data side. And that’s good news about the Bluetooth. As it happens, I upgraded my phone a couple of weeks ago, so I should be good.

      On the other hand, today we learned that the app cannot process tests conducted by the NHS, only tests conducted by private contractors. That, as they say, is Classic Dom.

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