Dealing Covid-19 with Technology around the World

 

 

Dealing Covid-19 with Technology around the World

Dealing covid-19 with Technology around the World; Covid-19 Apps are mobile software applications developed by software professionals to track the people and establish digital contact tracing data during the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e. the process of identifying people (“contacts”) who may have been in contact with an infected individual. Many applications were developed by software rofessionals or proposed, with official government support in some countries and jurisdictions. Several multi-dimensional frameworks for building contact tracing apps have been developed. Many Privacy concerns were also have been raised, especially about systems that are based on tracking the geographical location of app users.Less annoying alternatives include the usage of Bluetooth signals to log a user’s proximity to other mobiles. Interestingly On 10th of April 2020, Google and Apple companies have jointly announced that they would together integrate functionality to support Bluetooth based applications into their Android and IOS operating systems. India’s Covid-19 tracking app named Aarogya Setu became the world’s fastest growing application, beating Pokemon Go with 50 million users in the first 13 days of its release.

Lets See Covid-19 surveillance Apps are Dynamic:

It’s bieleved Contact tracing is an important tool in infectious disease control, but as the number of cases increase; time constraints make it more difficult to effectively stop transmission. Digital contact tracing, especially if widely and efficiently deployed, may be more effective than traditional methods of contact tracing. In a model by the Oxford University Big Data Institute team headed by Professor Christophe Fraser, a coronavirus outbreak in a city of one million people is halted if 80% of all smartphone users take part in a tracking system; model also discuss, the elderly are still expected to self-isolate themselves all together, but individuals who are neither symptomatic nor elderly are exempted from self isolation unless they receive an alert that they are at risk of carrying the disease. Some Experts are even advocating for legislation exempting certain COVID-19 apps from general privacy restrictions.professor named Mr.Ross Anderson of security engineering at Cambridge University, listed a number of potential practical problems with app-based system which include false positives and the potential lack of effectiveness if download of the app is limited to only a small fraction of the population. Lets take an example of Singapore; only one person in three downloaded the Trace  Together App by end-June 2020, despite legal requirements for most of the workers; the app was also underused because it required users to keep the app open at all times on Apple iOS.

An Innovative proposed Google & Apple contact tracing plan intends to mitigate the take-up problem by incorporating the tracing mechanism in their device operating systems, distributed by standard software update mechanisms. By phase II, the operating system would be able to trackdown exposure without the need of downloading separate COVID-19 app.One of teams of University of Oxford simulated the effect of a contact tracing app on a city of 1 million. They estimated fact that if the app was used in conjunction with the shielding of over-70s, then 56% of the population would have to be using the app for it to control the virus. This phenomena would be equivalent to 80% of smartphone users in the United Kingdom. They were able to find that the app could still slow the spread of the virus if fewer people downloaded it, with one infection being prevented for every one or two users.

Addressing the concerns about the spread of misleading or harmful apps, organisations viz., Apple, Google and Amazon have set limits on which types of organizations could add coronavirus-related apps to its App Store, limiting them to only official or otherwise trusted and reputable organizations.

Privacy, discrimination and marginalisation concerns using Covid-19 apps

Privacy campaigners raised their concerns regarding the implications of mass surveillance using Covid-19 apps, precisely about whether surveillance infrastructure created to deal with the coronavirus pandemic will be dismantled once the threat has passed. Unions like American Civil Liberties have published a set of guidelines for technology-assisted contact tracing and Amnesty International and over 100 other organizations issued a statement calling for limits on this kind of surveillance. The organisations set eight conditions on governmental projects:

1 Surveillance would have to be lawful, necessary and proportionate
2 Extensions of monitoring and surveillance would have to have sunset clauses
3 The use of data would have to be limited to COVID-19 purposes
4 Data security and anonymity would have to be protected and shown to be protected based on evidence
5 Digital surveillance would have to address the risk of exacerbating discrimination and marginalisation
6 Any sharing of data with third parties would have to be defined in law
7 There would have to be safeguards against abuse and the rights of citizens to respond to abuses
8 Meaningful participation by all relevant stakeholders would be required, including that of public health experts and marginalised groups.

The German Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and Reporter ohne Grenzen and RSF also issued checklists.An innovative proposed Google/Apple contact tracing plan aims to address the problem of persistent surveillance by removing the tracing mechanism from their device operating systems once it is no longer needed. On 20 April 2020, it was reported that over 300 academic bodies have signed a statement favouring decentralised proximity tracing applications over centralised models, given the difficulty in precluding centralised options being used to enable unwarranted discrimination and surveillance. In a centralised model, a central database records and monitors the ID codes of meetings between users. In a decentralised model, this information is recorded on individual mobiles, with the role of the central database being limited to identifying phones by their ID code when an alert needs to be sent.

Involving Human Rights while dealing with Covid-19 Apps

Human Rights group suggests that national mobile applications for COVID-19 contact tracing can potentially pose a serious threat to human rights.In the year 2020, May; it was reported that the authorities in Moscow wrongly fined hundreds of citizens of Moscow for breaching self-quarantine. The dubious behavioral interpretations recorded by the social monitoring tracking applications led to the mistaken fining of hundreds of people in Moscow. According to ZDNet reports, A Bluetooth-based proximity detection carries a chance of risk of over-reporting interactions and leading to “a large amount of false positive cases”; hypothetically, a system could flag or raise an interaction with “(a) person waiting for a public Transport on the (opposite) side of the road”. One problem may be that using Bluetooth signal strength to infer distance cannot be reliable; the range of a given Blue-tooth device can vary due to the nature of environment or the way the device is held. False positive cases could result in needless self-isolation, or may cause users to ignore warnings if the warnings are perceived as unreliable. Global Positioning System,GPS-based proximity detection can also be unreliable: according to the USA’ GPS.gov, “GPS-enabled mobiles are typically accurate to within a 4.9 meters (16 ft.) radius under the open sky environment with accuracy decreasing further in the presence of signal blockage. In contrast, social distancing guidelines are ironically 2 m (6 ft).

In the Google or Apple mechanism, a log entry is only added/included on the phone if Bluetooth proximity persists for 5 minutes (or might be possibly longer, depending on the application configuration). Logs are mostly retained for 14 days. Blue-tooth tracking system might be prone to false negatives; let’s take an example, unlike time-stamped GPS matching, Blue-tooth cannot detect that the user has entered a possibly-infected space that an infected person has just left.

General approaches to Track Covid-19 contact tracing across the Globe

Network-based location tracking is used to perform contact tracing by Some countries instead of apps, eliminating both the need to download an app and the ability to avoid tracking. In Israel country network-based tracking was approved. Network-based solutions that might have access to raw location data have significant potential privacy issues. However, not all the systems with central servers might have access to personal location data; lots of privacy-preserving systems have been created and use of central servers were used only for intercommunication.

In South Korea country, a Non App-based system was implemented to perform contact tracing. Instead of using a dedicated mobile app, the system gathered tracking information from a variety of sources includes mobile device tracking data and card transaction data. Combination of mobile device tracking data and card transaction data generate notices via text messages to potentially-infected individuals. In addition to this use of this information to alert potential contacts, the South Korean government has also made the location information publicly available to the people through a number of apps and websites.Countries like Germany used both centralized and privacy-preserving systems. As of April 06, 2020, the details have not been released yet.

Decentralized contact Tracing process of Covid-19 Positives

A simple and well defined style of explanation of how DP-3T,TCN Protocol and similar protocols, such as the Exposure Notification API may anonymously warn the users about contact with an infected person.Privacy-preserving contact tracing is a well- defined concept, with a substantial body of research literature which dates back to 2013.Organization named Covid Watch was the first to develop and open source an anonymous, decentralized Bluetooth digital contact tracing protocol which published their white paper on the subject on March 20, 2020. The group was founded as a research collaboration exchange between Stanford University and the University of Waterloo. The protocol they developed was called – The CEN Protocol, later it was renamed to – The TCN Protocol, was first released on March 17, 2020 and was presented at Stanford HAI’s Covid-19 and also at AI virtual conference on April 01, 2020.By April 07, 2020, few expert groups started working on privacy-friendly solutions, like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to log a user’s proximity to other Mobiles. Users then receive a message if they have been in close contact with someone who got tested positive for Covid-19.

An Application named Cocovid is being developed as a common effort of several European companies and institutions. The Cocovid app is an Open Source and its backend is based on a highly scalable solution that is already used by many financial institutions in Europe. COCOVID App supports the coordination of tests at medical institutions by allowing users with a high infection risk to book a test slot directly from the app. This will reduce the physcial contact and increase the efficiency of the medical test processes. COCOVID App uses both location and Bluetooth contact data to reach a high level of effectiveness to identify the Infected. This solution is follows the EU data privacy recommendations. The Team working on this project are from organisations viz., Orange, Ericsson, Proventa AG, Stratio, TH Köln and Charta digitale Vernetzung.Singapore government On April 09, 2020 announced that it had open-sourced a reference implementation of the BlueTrace protocol used by its official government application.

We hope with an Advanced Technology available with us can eradicate this global Pandemic known as Covid 19 very soon.

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