South Africa's plan to track coronavirus cases using smartphones has a massive flaw

Jamie McKane

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garp

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Excellent news. Bottom line, they don’t have actual location data, only tower and signal data that can be used for rough triangulation, and they do not have the capacity for the maths and processing power for doing this at scale. It’s good to know there are limits on their totalitarianism.
 

access

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if they tracked via a history of device wifi or bluetooth proximity it would work, like it was done for ebola.
 

ToxicBunny

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if they tracked via a history of device wifi or bluetooth proximity it would work, like it was done for ebola.

That would be more info than they have access to.

I also think that the bluetooth/wifi stuff for Ebola was more a PoC than anything that was rolled out in a significant fashion.
 

markings

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Excellent news. Bottom line, they don’t have actual location data, only tower and signal data that can be used for rough triangulation, and they do not have the capacity for the maths and processing power for doing this at scale. It’s good to know there are limits on their totalitarianism.
I am sure Google could fill in the blanks.

Why not just take a system that works, e.g. South Korea, translate and adapt. Or use Google data, which is really good recording my usual walks in the morning.
By now they had 2 months to get something together. How hard can it be to make an app for this?
 

ToxicBunny

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I am sure Google could fill in the blanks.

Why not just take a system that works, e.g. South Korea, translate and adapt. Or use Google data, which is really good recording my usual walks in the morning.
By now they had 2 months to get something together. How hard can it be to make an app for this?

Google won't willingly give them that data....

The only way they get that data willingly is to get people to install an app on their phone and to agree to the data being shared.
 

maeztro

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Israeli idea.
More like an adaptation of the China model. But in China everyone is using WeChat (?) as a payment platform. So they aren't tracking cell phones per se, but your activity as you go about. They also have blanket surveillance which is used to track people almost everywhere. Not going to happen here.
 

Swa

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If this was such a bright idea from the start then why hasn't any other country done it? As usual our overlords having no idea how technology works.


I am sure Google could fill in the blanks.

Why not just take a system that works, e.g. South Korea, translate and adapt. Or use Google data, which is really good recording my usual walks in the morning.
By now they had 2 months to get something together. How hard can it be to make an app for this?
Even Google can't get my location right so it's even worse. And who exactly will be willing to install such an app?
 

garp

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I am sure Google could fill in the blanks.

Why not just take a system that works, e.g. South Korea, translate and adapt. Or use Google data, which is really good recording my usual walks in the morning.
By now they had 2 months to get something together. How hard can it be to make an app for this?
Nah. How about they just ask you nicely if you test positive?
 

John Tempus

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Excellent news. Bottom line, they don’t have actual location data, only tower and signal data that can be used for rough triangulation, and they do not have the capacity for the maths and processing power for doing this at scale. It’s good to know there are limits on their totalitarianism.

Accurate tracking within a more accurate range can be achieved from internet data but still if the tracking doesn't have EXACT tracking down to the cm then what use is it if it tells u somewere in a 20m radius is someone that is infected. GPS tracking is however seriously lagging and in many cases entirely pointless to pinpoint anything. Just take a look at googlemaps when you make use of GPS tracking rather than internet data tracking. The updates are slow and all over the place.

So if they want to go the internet tracking approach that would mean they would have to ensure everyone get free data, have proper protocols in place with every mobile network to allow this tracking, the list just goes on and on of all the things they need to ensure.

All of that can be nullified if infected person simply refuse to use the app or just have a secondary phone/number that doesn't have the tracking in place.

In short , there is no way to properly enforce this silly idea.
 

Swa

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Accurate tracking within a more accurate range can be achieved from internet data but still if the tracking doesn't have EXACT tracking down to the cm then what use is it if it tells u somewere in a 20m radius is someone that is infected. GPS tracking is however seriously lagging and in many cases entirely pointless to pinpoint anything. Just take a look at googlemaps when you make use of GPS tracking rather than internet data tracking. The updates are slow and all over the place.

So if they want to go the internet tracking approach that would mean they would have to ensure everyone get free data, have proper protocols in place with every mobile network to allow this tracking, the list just goes on and on of all the things they need to ensure.

All of that can be nullified if infected person simply refuse to use the app or just have a secondary phone/number that doesn't have the tracking in place.

In short , there is no way to properly enforce this silly idea.
Not to mention that once you test positive you're in isolation anyway. They need data from before the test was done.
 

whatwhat

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Why not just plug into the system that Google and Apple are doing? Will be available middle May.
 

whatwhat

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ToxicBunny

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Initial app version is using random bluetooth token exchange, and you can only be marked positive by a hospital or registered doctor.

Later versions of the OS will support this more natively.

Very cool actually...

Won't be acceptable by our government though... it has privacy built in, that won't work for them.
 
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