Apple and Google are bitter rivals but they have put their differences to the side during this pivotal moment in time. They have a new strategy in mind and this should be disconcerting to Americans have value their privacy. The tech giants are teaming up to track those who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
These corporations are going to be tracking the person’s activities and letting others know when they are near. The warnings will be issued as a means of keeping other people safe but this is a major invasion of privacy. These are the same corporations that have no problem with discriminating against those with conservative viewpoints.
While the idea itself is somewhat noble, this is one of those things that works better on paper than it does in execution. Health authorities are also going to be able to track the movements of those who have tested positive by utilizing Bluetooth proximity data. Technology is going to be used to accelerate our return to normalcy but that does not mean that we are happy about it.
Apple and Google announced a partnership Friday to try to use technology to trace the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The two companies, usually fierce rivals, said they would work together in the coming weeks to build new tools that would enable people and health authorities to track the virus using Bluetooth proximity data from their smartphones.
“We hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life,” the two companies said in a rare joint statement.
Google and Apple said their work would come in two stages. In the first stage, next month, they plan to release a set of tools known as application programming interfaces (APIs) so that apps created by public health authorities could work on both iPhones and on phones that run Google’s Android operating system.
Then, in the second stage over the coming months, the two companies would build a voluntary tracing system directly into their iOS and Android operating systems.
Versions of coronavirus tracking apps already exist in China, Singapore, Israel and elsewhere, but efforts have been slower in the U.S. and Europe, because of concerns about privacy and because “contact tracing” must be combined with widespread testing in order to work.
The idea is that an app could remember, via anonymous Bluetooth signals, which other phones have been nearby. If someone you had coffee with two days ago tests positive for the coronavirus, you would get a notification along the lines of “you may have recently been exposed” — and advising temporary isolation.
Apple and Google are claiming that this is a two step process. Next month, the initial stage begins. Application programming interfaces are going to be released. The public health authorities who are responsible for creating the apps that can work on the iPhone and the Google Android.
The second stage comes next and this is when the companies are going to construct a voluntary tracing system directly into the Android and iOS systems. There are versions of this app that have been put into place in other foreign countries. Israel, Singapore and China have already been using them but the efforts have been slower in countries that place a higher level of emphasis on their privacy.
The concerns about widespread testing are valid and they have to combined with contract tracing in order for the plan to be truly effective. For example, anyone who happens to be at the same coffee shop as someone who has tested positive would receive a notification. This would give them the chance to be more proactive and start the quarantine process before it is too late.
When the system rolls out next month, the Bluetooth tracing would cause phones to ping out signals and listen for forms of communication with other app users who are nearby. If the phones are in close proximity to each other, public health app developers are able to tune the amount of time necessary to qualify as a contact and the proximity.
Users who are diagnosed with the coronavirus are then able to alert their app with a simple tap. The last two weeks of keys are uploaded into a server and this is how the warnings are issued. All of the other phones in the system would receive the necessary warnings. Beacon numbers are used to send the notifications and these apps are supposed to slow down the spread.
This is the latest surveillance tactic that is giving us a lot of pause. What happens when someone inevitably decides to take matters into their own hands and confronts one of the people who has contracted COVID-19? These are the issues that we are not ready to handle. Apple and Google’s hearts in the right place but this seems like the sort of idea that will lead to failure.
We doubt very highly that Americans are going to comply with these apps in a meaningful way. At this rate, we are starting to doubt that we will ever go back to normal. Hopefully, the weaker minded citizens of the United States are able to avoid the temptation to use these apps. They sound like a great idea to many but we are very skeptical.
These are the ideas that are designed to have the American public living in fear. Our liberties cannot be taken away from us, unless we allow them to be. We need to stand strong and resist the fear that is being pushed on us. The leftists may want to go along with these apps and surrender their freedoms. If so, that is their choice and they are the ones who are going to have to live with it.
Big Brother is always watching and these stories serve as a valuable reminder of the challenges that we face as a nation. We are living in a nightmare of Orwellian proportions and there is no way out anytime soon. If you are anything like us, you are already looking into the viability of a flip phone plan.