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Coronavirus: Bluetooth app is bad to discover new cases of COVID-19, experts say

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Imagine you were diagnosed with COVID-19 positive. Health officials will initiate contact tracing to compose the infection and ask you to identify the people with whom you were in close proximity. The obvious person comes to mind-your family, your colleagues, and even your friends. What about the woman in front of you at the pharmacy last week? Or who packs your groceries? Or are there any other strangers who may have been in the last 14 days?

Healthy coronavir / IRAQ-PAINTER

(Photo: REUTERS / Essam al-Sudani)
While Iraqi painter Duaa Manshed, 27, is painting at home, she posts her art on social media to see how coronavirus (COVID-19) can change lives around the world. Is shown. The outbreak of coronavirus in Basra, Iraq, April 4, 2020. Taken on April 4, 2020.

Various researcher And other experts at many institutions are developing features that enhance public health personnel’s “manual” contact tracking, while maintaining the privacy of all individuals. The system relies on short-range Bluetooth indicators emitted from people’s smartphones. These indicators represent a random string of numbers, and are likened to “chirps” that can be remembered by other nearby smartphones.

Read also: COVID-19 Update: Minister says France is officially working on a “StopCOVID” contact tracking app

If someone tests positive, you can add to your database a list of chirps your smartphone has placed in the last 14 days. Then someone can test the database to see if any of these chirps match the ones you picked up on your phone. If there is a match, you will be notified that the person may be infected with the virus, and will include facts from the public health government on what to do next. Importantly, the entire system is implemented while preserving the privacy of those who are COVID-19 positive and who want to make sure they are not in contact with infected people.

But scientists argue that the Bluetooth app is horrible to discover new cases of COVID-19. This is the reason.

Privacy issues

Some countries have successfully stopped the spread of COVID-19 by using smartphone-based methods to perform touch tracing. However, researchers point out that these tactics do not always cover personal privacy.

Privacy concerns limit the use of location information for anti-coronavirus protection around the world. According to Taiwan, this feature has caused little frustration Reuters. The country has introduced a smartphone-based “digital fence” that allows isolated people to stay at home using location tracking.

The system monitors phone indicators to alert police and local authorities when quarantined people leave their homes or turn off their mobile phones. Authorities will contact or visit alerting people within 15 minutes.

A woman, who identified her as Xiaomei, told Reuters that she had been scolded by nearby officials for failing to answer the phone in the morning while she was asleep.

“It’s creepy that the government is working with telcos to track calls,” said a flight attendant in Taipei, who had been quarantined for 14 days after returning from Europe in mid-March.

South Korea has also implemented an app that notifies authorities when a diagnosed person leaves home. Authorities also use people’s GPS data to pinpoint where they were.

Ah report The Atlantic government uses several sources, such as cell phone location data, CCTV, and credit card records, to publicize citizens’ activities.

If someone tests positive, the municipality can send a flood alert that shows the individual’s name, gender, age, location, and credit card history. The notice will also include a minute-by-minute document about the person’s whereabouts.

“In some areas, public information includes which room in the building the person was in when he went to the bathroom, and whether he was wearing a mask,” said a Nature reporter. I have written.

Some false positives are expected

Ryan Carro, a professor of law at Washington University studying privacy, Said In NBC News, the whole idea doesn’t work. He added that software cannot solve what is primarily a medical emergency.

“It’s not plausible. This is a serious emergency we have,” said Caro. He explained that even though well designed, apps can fail in multiple ways.

“For example, pranksters can go to many grocery stores and sign up for the app as a false positive, causing problems and causing unnecessary panic,” Calo added.

Former National Coordinator of Health Information Technology from the Ministry of Health and Human Services, Dr. Farzad Mostashari Posted a Twitter thread Express skepticism about Bluetooth-based contact tracking.

Read also: COVID-19: False-negative coronavirus test may be due to sample collection method, experts say

Mostly, to further explain the thread, Said Even if you are more than 6 feet away, Verge your Bluetooth and your friend’s Bluetooth may notify each other.

“I can walk through the apartment wall and see that a proximity event is taking place. When I’m on another floor of the building, [notify], “Mostashari added.

What should Silicon Valley and the government do?

Public health professionals Facebook And Google Apply aggregated and anonymized records to indicate movement patterns.

Apple’s COVID-19 screening device A collaboration between Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University has also encouraged users to self-document symptoms at the university, not Facebook.

According to public health infrastructure, brinkThere are many practices regarding contact tracking, with the help of sexually transmitted diseases. Have HIV, chlamydia, or gonorrhea. The best county health agencies work together to reach out to everyone who has been contacted since the infection.

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