Private Matters

Yesterday, the total number of people that tested positive for Coronavirus in the United States of America passed the one million bar.

Many countries are debating around privacy implications around contact tracing applications these days and the theme is polarizing.
In general terms, European countries are more concerned by potential abuses hiding behind contact tracing applications and in countries like Italy and France, the population is reluctant to download and install them; Asians are less sensitive to privacy threats.
I wrote in these chronicles on 31st of March that Singapore engineers solved the privacy VS. contact tracing equation in an elegant way, designing an application that does not rely on geo-location and asks explicitly a consent to individuals who have diagnosed with Coronavirus before uploading the list of people they met to a centralized server. The application is licensed as Open Source and Australia is rolling out its own version based on Singapore code.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend who explained me that in France, objections have been raised to applications that upload contacts to a centralized server, even if they do record user location, because they exchange personal data. I would argue that it is hard to design a contact tracing application that does not trace contact 😉
Along the same lines, some weeks ago Google and Apple announced that they will-cooperate in developing contact tracing technologies that exchange data between the two platforms. Are we witnessing the birth of the mother of all spywares?

By the way, as I was talking about Apple: they are surfing the Coronavirus wave to launch a new iPhone that only costs 400 USD and is advertised as being as good as the latest series that costed 1000+ USD. As John McEnroe used to say: “You cannot be serious!”.


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