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India orders coronavirus tracing app for all workers (reuters.com)
244 points by caution 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 311 comments



This is just “security theater”, to put it in blunt terms. The number of smartphone users in India is around 500 million out of a nearly 1.4 billion population. Most of the smartphones are also cheap low end models that likely won’t support this app (and without a lot of battery drain and other issues).

The app is also very intrusive in the amount of information it collects. It requires continuous GPS access. It uploads data to a server. There is no data protection or privacy law in India, even after privacy was declared as a fundamental right a few years ago.

I read in a research pointed out in an Ars Technica article that contact tracing using technology starts providing more utility when 60% of the population uses it. That’s simply not possible in India.

Interestingly, the information technology minister announced that there would soon be a solution for feature phones as well.

For the requirement on phone manufacturers to pre-install this app on new phones, I hope at least Apple fights it out. We’ll soon know how strong Apple is on rights in certain countries.


Schneier said it best: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2020/05/me_on_covad-1...

"This is just something governments want to do for the hell of it. To me, it's just techies doing techie things because they don't know what else to do."


It also seems likely to serve as clicking another step down the slippery /Big Brother surveillance now using your own property to surveil you/ slope.

Establishing this precedent, helping condition people to cooperate with such unnecessary invasions, under the guise of a big doomy crisis, seems like it could serve a variety of erosive purposes.


Well he's definitely mistaken: for example, in Israel, technological contact tracing (not an app tho) by the Shabak led to more than 500 confirmed cases which might not have been detected otherwise:

https://news.walla.co.il/item/3348992

And this was as early as 26 of march, so I bet it continued being significant.


No one’s going to deny these apps will find some cases. But to be effective they need to find a majority of all cases.


Sure, but doing something "for the hell of it" implies it has virtually no practical value, at least to my ears. It's rather unproductive for someone (not you, in this case) to use a sweeping inflammatory statement when they later fall back to what they actually meant: a more reasonable and much weaker statement.


I mean, he's not wrong. The world is scary as shit and after making lots of money building technology and being sold on 'making the world a better place' and it turning into making more money for someone else technologists have to feel that they should do something to help out.

I've even fallen for that trap, writing a little Android app that can help businesses put up signs about COVID-19 after the 'grand reopening of the US' without realizing that most of those people will go bankrupt and have their live savings and have their future crushed by something we might not be able to stop without burying millions of Americans.


> This is just “security theater”, to put it in blunt terms

The security theater argument would make sense if there is an audience for the theater - but that is not the case. For example, there are no criticism of the government that it is not doing enough that the government needs to resort to a theater.

> The number of smartphone users in India is around 500 million out of a nearly 1.4 billion population

It's about concentration of the phones that matter. If the biggest risk of infection is in the cities, and if the concentration of phones in cities is high enough, then it is effective. Looking at the whole country as a single aggregate number doesn't make sense.

Your points about privacy I agree with.


> The number of smartphone users in India is around 500 million out of a nearly 1.4 billion population. Most of the smartphones are also cheap low end models that likely won’t support this app

You don't need 100% of anything to control an outbreak. If the app allows you to catch transmission events from the 22.3% or whatever of smartphone users who have compatible devices, and that pushes R0 down below 1.0, then you win. Every little bit helps. Nothing in isolation is going to do it.

I'd be curious about that Ars article you mention. I can't believe it would make the statement in that way, because that's not really a correct understanding of the problem.


> I read in a research pointed out in an Ars Technica article that contact tracing using technology starts providing more utility when 60% of the population uses it.

According to the research Ars Technica referenced, digital contact tracing doesn't start becoming effective at 60% - at 60% usage, digital contact tracing can stop the pandemic [0].

If even just two people use digital contact tracing, then it can be effective:

Say one of the two people with the contact tracing app test positive for COVID-19. If the app knows that the person who tested positive came into contact with the other person who has the app, then we'd know that we should test the other person, too. If the contact also tests positive, we can isolate them to prevent further spread.

[0] https://www.research.ox.ac.uk/Article/2020-04-16-digital-con...


  According to the research Ars Technica referenced, digital
  contact tracing doesn't start becoming effective at 60% - 
  at 60% usage, digital contact tracing can stop the pandemic

There's no silver bullet with this virus. Contact tracing has proven ineffective in Singapore [1], even with additional layers of surveillance and thousands of dedicated staff reviewing CCTV footage, cell tower location data, and calling those suspected exposed to confirmed cases.

https://www.economist.com/asia/2020/04/11/not-even-singapore...

  All the while efficient contact-tracing teams—including 
  members of the police and the army—identified and isolated 
  thousands of people possibly infected with the virus. 
  Members of the armed forces have been making up to 2,000 
  calls a day to hunt for potential carriers. Those told to 
  stay at home for 14 days have been monitored assiduously 
  to ensure compliance. (Unco-operative types face 
  prosecution or the loss of their residency rights, if they 
  are not citizens.)

  Yet in spite of everything, the virus continues to spread.
  Singapore’s approach continues to evolve. Take face masks. 
  Initially Singaporeans were advised that they did not need 
  to wear them unless unwell. Then on April 3rd, in his 
  third televised address on covid-19, Lee Hsien Loong, the 
  prime minister, said that the government would no longer 
  discourage their use and would, in fact, distribute 
  reusable ones to every household. Singapore’s testing 
  regime may alter too. Currently people’s travel history 
  and symptoms are among the factors considered before they 
  are tested for the coronavirus. But health officials say 
  the approach is reviewed regularly and that wider testing 
  might be adopted in future. 


The difficulty with SARS-CoV-2 is once exposed, there's a window of several days of asymptomatic contagious transmissions. This is a biological health problem, and an app won't stop the spread. Viral fomites are like dust particles, airborne and remaining infectious on surfaces for upwards of 1-9 days depending on environmental factors [2].

Epidemiologists have predicted a global pandemic would happen sooner or later [3], and without a safe treatment the most effective action is to use Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions in any region where the virus might spread. Obviously due to modern air travel, it's now nearly everywhere.

[1] https://www.economist.com/asia/2020/04/11/not-even-singapore...

[2] https://news.llu.edu/health-wellness/covid-19-virus-remains-...

[3] https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0995_article

https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/11425

https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/45220

https://cme-mec.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CME_Pandemic_G...

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/portal/files/documents/Guid...


If you haven't seen it, check out Dr. Jim Yong Kim's article in the New Yorker: "It's not too late to go on offense against the Coronavirus" [0]. Dr. Kim led the World Health Organization's fight against AIDS in Africa. He's also fought many other epidemics around the world for thirty years.

In his article, Dr. Kim says that any one tool isn't enough. We need to use a full five-part response to end the pandemic: social distancing, contact tracing, testing, isolation, and treatment.

Contract tracing alone isn't enough (as we saw in Singapore). Neither is social distancing (as we see in the US). Dr. Kim shared that in his experience we need all five parts to end an epidemic.

[0] https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/its-not-t...


> We need to use a full five-part response to end the pandemic: social distancing, contact tracing, testing, isolation, and treatment.

This is the US - we don't do any of those.


"There's no silver bullet with this virus."

Well, that doesn't make any sense to me, given the reported experience of some countries like China, South Korea, and New Zealand. Unless they are all covering up/fabricating statistics, then somebody has discovered a silver bullet, even if most places haven't.


It’s the infinite quarantine argument. Nobody will get immune and the vaccine/cure is years into the future, so we all better stay at home forever while the government takes money out of the infinite supply so we can order food that’s not processed in all these factories that are closed.


Please stop abusing the code formatting to do block quotes. It is impossible to read on mobile browsers.


> a solution for feature phones as well.

Cell tower triangulation?


> Using cell towers to detect location is not as accurate as GPS. ... By using cell tower triangulation (3 towers), it is possible to determine a phone location to within an area of about ¾ square mile.

https://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/911/Apps%20Wrkshp%202015/911...

Practically useless unless you are willing impose a strict curfew within a one mile radius


Some form of IVRS. You'll need to call in a number.


How is this implemented on iOS where the operating system doesn’t allow apps to do this?


a few things

- Indians usually live in large families. - i think, you are not accounting for children and old people. who live with there families.

- I live in india and i can't give a flying brick about privacy.

-if i were to trade my privacy for 2 weeks of suffering. I WOULD.

- You need to be alive to have privacy.


The government of India is making it mandatory for all new smartphones to be sold in India post lifting of the lockdown to not just have the app as a pre-installed service, but also ensure that individuals register on it and set it up, before beginning to use their new smartphones.

Source: Aarogya Setu Registration Will be Mandatory to Setup New Phone: Govt Sources

https://www.news18.com/news/tech/aarogya-setu-registration-w...


I hope Apple will continue to win in the fight to keep third-party bloatware off iPhones, like they did versus AT&T when it first came out.


I don't have much hope even as an Apple user. Apple will bend over because it has done so before in case of China. Apple will be in no mood to let go of the huge inroads it has made into the Indian smartphone market in the past one year.


How does this work with Apple phones? Will apple make set up of their phones dependent on installing government spyware first? How do they handle this in China?

And does this mean that android permissions no longer work? What if people just make location and gps unavailable to the app after installation?


> How do they handle this in China

Surprisingly (depending the depth of your understanding of China), Apple phones come out with no extra apps installed.

The phone number on the other hand is tied under your name. You would need an ID to get a phone number and/or sim card, so there's that.


Apple was already in a fight with India about app store approval of government-developed apps.


> The government of India is making it mandatory for all new smartphones to be sold in India post lifting of the lockdown to not just have the app as a pre-installed service, but also ensure that individuals register on it and set it up, before beginning to use their new smartphones

That's abhorrent on a number of levels. Almost certainly won't work either.


No primary source listed in that news report, which makes the news highly suspect. Preinstall after pandemic would be easily challenged in courts. Govt can get away with it now because of epidemic emergency laws.


If you weren’t old enough to live through 9/11 and witness the transformation of the country you are probably being naive about contact tracing today.

At first everyone was on board and patriot act was justified: we were under attack. There was no clear end of this attack, so the patriot act got renewed.

We caught bin laden and killed him. Great! End of the patriot act? Nope, there was still a “threat”. 19 years later it’s normalized.

I predict the same thing will happen here. There is no scenario in which this will not be abused.


What do you propose we do about it?

The response to 9/11 seems so disproportionate because it presupposed the existence of thousands more plots, which never materialized. Preserving civil liberties would have been free.

The spread of the virus is not a conspiracy theory or a what-if/abundance-of-caution proposition. It is an observable fact. There is no way the public tolerates the devastation that will definitely materialize if we go back to making arbitrary, untraceable contacts. If contact tracing is intolerable, then so is contact.

At some point, people are going to be ready to repeal the 4th amendment if it means seeing their friends again.


> The response to 9/11 seems so disproportionate because it presupposed the existence of thousands more plots, which never materialized.

Did they not? There have been several attacks by al-Qaeda on foreign targets annually since 9/11, most of which targeted the US or its allies. I think it's reasonable to assume there were many more plots that either didn't materialize or did materialize and were halted. While I don't support the measures because I still believe they are disproportionate (at least in the US), there certainly isn't a complete lack of a threat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Al-Qaeda_attacks


People will just go out, which they're already doing. Nobody would ever agree to repealing the 4th amendment, they would challenge the government's authority to restrict their movement.

The police can't arrest all of us.


I think you overestimate your neighbors’ appetite to murder hundreds of millions of people, or to let others get away with doing so.


heh, what? in what scenario does contact tracing save hundreds of millions of lives? I think if it were widely agreed upon that it would save hundreds of millions, folks would universally be on board. It's disingenuous to assert that people who are against contact tracing are murderers, because evidence is lacking that it will make the difference between peak caseloads exceeding or staying under healthcare capacity.


> It's disingenuous to assert that people who are against contact tracing are murderers

Thank you. Unfortunately this is a heated / political issue now, it's going to take a long time to restart the economy.


The economy is not getting restarted without a way to mitigate the virus's spread. Maybe for a few weeks, until people see with their own eyes what exponential growth of dead bodies looks like, but not sustainably.


The one where it works well enough to replace lockdown. You're right, that scenario is not guaranteed. Meaning we might be stuck with lockdown until vaccination.

But there is no way responsible adults are going to let people just go back to normal. The threat that required lockdown in the first place has not diminished in any way.


There is a whole group of people with an opinion thats different from yours. In my area nobody obeys lockdown or social distancing.


Sidestepping the loaded term.. There are lots of counterexamples, eg muted action in response to in climate crisis and global poverty problems.


I think some of the difference is that we went through all of that, and the NSA/Snowden leaks, and trust in the US government in general is at all-time lows. The fact that all that happened gives me hope and expectation that people are more suspect this time around.


This time around nothing will be different. Panama papers came out and nothing happened, Epstein was involved in who knows what with royals, politicians, and the wealthy and nothing happened, Assange is a prisoner for exposing the truth and even the surveillance that Snowden brought to light is still taking place today.


I don't think people realize the gravity of what's being done. While google and apple design nice apis which can do contact tracing while maintaining privacy, that's not how contact tracing will be implemented as shown by this app. It requires :

- a mobile phone number - location and bluetooth, always on - name,profession

The mobile number part concerns me. Government wants to use it as a way to contact people but the potential for abuse is there.

Installing this app is mandatory for public and private companies. So if you are an employee, you have no choice in the matter. It's like a surveillance state in the making.

They are also planning an e pass feature which will be required to board a flight/metro. Chinese level dystopian shit in the works.

To top it all off, non compliance is a criminal offence. FYI the law enforcement, legal system is a complete joke in India.

Random cops stopping to ensure you have the app installed? Happening. Non complaince? Do situps, get beaten with a lathi. I wish I was joking.

Edit : Manufactures will need to preinstall it on new devices. You can see where this is going.

More reading :

- https://internetfreedom.in/workers-privacy-during-covid-19/

- https://internetfreedom.in/45-organizations-and-105-prominen...

- https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/how-to-us...


> FYI the law enforcement, legal system is a complete joke in India

Please keep nationalistic flamebait off this site. It leads to much lower-quality discussion. Edit: I'm sure you didn't mean it as a swipe and were just talking the way one does in normal conversation, but unfortunately these throwaway phrases act like bombs in threads, so it's necessary to edit them out of one's comments here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


This is in no way nationalistic flamebait. On the contrary, it is well known:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_India

https://qz.com/india/1826387/indias-coronavirus-lockdown-bri...


It can easily be both. No doubt Wikipedia includes information, but it's a non sequitur to go from that to name-calling ("complete joke").

Come on you guys - this is not hard to see. I chided https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23053698 for taking the thread further into flamewar, but then I saw the provocation in the GP. If I hadn't posted a symmetrical scolding, there would be a different set of complaints saying "why do you moderate this and not that?" "I'm sick of you punishing users just because you disagree with them", "It's been clear for years that the HN mods hate India", etc.

I'm sure the GP didn't mean to include a bomb-throwing swipe and was just talking the way people do in normal conversation, but unfortunately these things have degrading effects on discussion. In addition to flamewars, we get off-topic generic tangents (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23050724), Jeffrey Epstein and Jimmy Saville (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23051067), Gandhi's teenage nieces (you'll find them) and god knows what else. Discussion quality is extremely sensitive to initial conditions and also to which subthread is sitting at the top.


Then, try leaving both alone. They are both legitimate comments. Let the community downvote or flag if they believe otherwise.


Since I'm just doing what I'd do anywhere else, that amounts to asking us not to moderate. If you think this place would be ok without that, I can't agree. From my perspective such a view is a bit of a luxury that is only possible because the janitors work hard every day. But that is what a janitor would say.


Perhaps some setting where you can make it impossible to reply to a comment or thread would help. Some people will never accept that in the end the only right they have on a forum owned by someone else is to leave.


We have such settings, but I'm not sure what you have in mind - how would they have applied here, for example?


Well from the tone of your comments in this thread I would get that it is somewhat frustrating to have endless discussions about tone and moderation with people who don’t understand the cycle of forums. I wouldn’t blame you if you’d just post your message and close the discussion by leaving no reply link.

Then again I like to think I’m pretty patient but I am nowhere near as patient as you are.


Ah I see. We have that ability and use it sometimes, but more to prevent something egregiously off topic from getting going in the first place than to deny anyone their say in an existing exchange. I don't think that would work; the flames would just break out in other places, and with greater resentment. At least here it's all in one spot and we can collapse it to spare readers who aren't interested.

It would be nice if technical tricks could solve these problems, and actually there's still a lot of room for software to make a difference. But I don't think there's much substitute for persuasion: attempting to persuade the users who are breaking the site guidelines and (more importantly) the majority of the community that it's in everyone's interest to follow them.

p.s. you're right that I expressed some frustration, but I actually did that in the hope of persuading the commenter who was making objections. It's easy to feel like the mods are busybodies who make the threads worse with nannying interventions. I understand why it seems that way, because moderation comments are tedious and offtopic. In such cases I sometimes disclose that those comments are even more tedious to write than they are to read (https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...) - the hope being that maybe they'll see that we have similar values and are not, say, authoritarian spoilsports.


I see you get my point. This site was better when there was no (visible) moderation beyond upvotes, downvotes, and flags from users.


It really was not. 'dang and 'sctb have done yeoman's work in establishing a tone for what's acceptable--and they have put a lot of thought into things; I occasionally email hn@ycombinator.com with a "hey is this actually cool?" and while I don't always agree with their conclusions I'm always struck by how well-considered the results are.

HN is full-stop better than it was.


Ok, but that's really a separate topic. I don't know if the site was better, but let's say it was; it was also smaller. The same tactics don't keep working as a forum grows, so your argument is actually for letting it destroy itself, be garbage-collected by the big VM in the sky, and get replaced by newer forums which spring up, thrive for a while, and become scorched earth in turn. That's the cycle of life on the internet, but the idea of HN has always been to try to stave that fate off for longer. In 2013-14, the last year before we started moderating the site in the current style, the system was under so much pressure that there were signs of it being about to break—and in fact it did break, because the person who created it couldn't take it any more. It was an awful experience.

I definitely want to find ways to become less visible if possible. I don't much enjoy writing tedious and stupefying moderation comments, getting swarmed by wasps, accused of every bigotry, and reliving the same thing the next day. To be visible in such a role is to be the receptacle for a lot of people's anger about completely unrelated things, and you cannot expect them to treat you with scruples. That's only a tiny minority of the community, of course, but the community is large enough that it's still a lot of people—more, say, than one knows personally. On the plus side, one gains appreciation for Samuel Beckett as a spiritual teacher.


I really appreciate your work.


Thanks! That comment sounded like more of a complaint than I meant. The job has its enjoyable aspects as well, and I'm blessed to have it.


It seems to me that one could find 10 similar quotes about the U.S. or European states here any day. They often have an element of truth.

Why would Indians need special protection? For all we know the poster is Indian.

I rely on this site to hear unfiltered opinions. I'm from Europe, until today I did not know about the BJP IT cells, which seem to be a thing.


Flamebait about any country is off topic. Flamebait often does have an element of truth. We don't treat Indians specially. The poster may have been Indian but that is immaterial. Factual comments are indeed helpful, and become more helpful when flamebait is edited out.


Perhaps I'm wrong but this would be contrary to the nationalistic policies of the state.

Personally, primary sources are what I come to the forum for—I understand the resulting discussion might be toxic, but the post itself is certainly valuable.


Fortunately these things are easily separable. If you have a slug in your spinach, the solution is to take out the slug and keep the spinach.


Ah so censorship of political opinions? Even the minor side comments, got it.


That's not the clearest of way of framing it if you want to understand what we do. I've explained this in detail in past comments:

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

Some good threads to start with might be https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21607844 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22902396.

If you or anyone takes a look at those past discussions and has a question that's not answered there, I'd like to know what it is; and if anyone knows a better solution, I'd really like to know what it is. Just make sure you've familiarized yourself with the material first, because if it's something simple like "just ban politics" or "just leave the threads alone", I've answered many times already why it won't work.

harisund 22 days ago [flagged]

I don't know if you are an admin or an admin wannabe, but this is absolutely not nationalistic flamebait. Anyone who knows anything remotely about India will agree with this statement. And no, it does not lead to lower quality discussion. It looks like hacker news admins are about as a power abusive as Indians in power


Yes, I'm a moderator here. I'm sure you have good reasons for holding your view, but I can tell you for a fact that HN has many Indian users who disagree with you and the GP, feel just as strongly as you do, and will respond to that sort of provocation by lashing back and making the thread worse. If you don't believe me, look down the thread. If you don't think we moderate those responses as well, look down the thread again.

Provocations that are likely to lead to flamewar are called flamebait, so that's exactly what that was. Since the topic was national, I referred to it as nationalistic flamebait. Some of you seem to be reacting as if I had called the statement untrue, or sided against it. Of course I didn't. I know nothing about how the Indian justice system compares to that in other countries. You know about India; I know about Hacker News.

It's extremely common for people to assume that the mods must be taking the other side when they moderate a comment. The irony is that both sides think this. It's an illusion, but a strong one, and it makes people feel angry and justified in accusing us of abusing them. Since all sides do this, we get fired on from all angles. We become a sort of proxy for everyone's enemies in all the deep conflicts that exist in the worlds of HN users [1, 2]. Actually, we're simply trying to persuade users here to follow the site guidelines regardless of how right they are on a topic or how wrong someone else is, and regardless of how strongly they feel. Would you please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and make a point of practicing these rules in the future? They're designed to prevent this place from destroying itself, the way past internet forums have tended to do. Note this one, for example:

"Comments should get more thoughtful and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive."

Had the GP followed that when raising the topic of the Indian justice system, we could not only have avoided a flamewar and a crash into offtopicness, but their own point would have been stronger.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostile_media_effect


"Non complaince? Do situps, get beaten with a lathi. I wish I was joking."

Wait, what ?


The government enforced a lockdown out of the blue, stopping trains and buses from moving.

Migrant workers who were stranded tried to go back home by walking hundreds of miles but cops would see them and punish them. Punishment in this case is beating the crap out of them using batons, bamboo sticks, and making them do situps and bunny hop instead of walking back home.

Doesn't matter why you're outside. Cops have attacked hundreds and even killed many in India for not enforcing the lockdown.


>even killed many

Please support that claim with evidence. This seems ill-informed or malice-driven.


Someone looked into the permissions quickly - https://paste.gg/p/anonymous/b7c95d3967514e78a652840b5b666d5...


I've never examined a permissions dump for android before, but I see:

    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.BLUETOOTH"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.BLUETOOTH_ADMIN"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.FOREGROUND_SERVICE"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WAKE_LOCK"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="com.google.android.c2dm.permission.RECEIVE"/>
 
    <uses-permission android:name="com.google.android.finsky.permission.BIND_GET_INSTALL_REFERRER_SERVICE"/>
... and I am surprised to not see carte blanche access to photos, contacts, SMS messages, etc.

Which is to say, the granted permissions seems surprisingly restrained...


Why would they need Bluetooth permission for?


Huh?

The contact tracing is 100% Bluetooth.

You post a beacon periodically, other people post beacons, everyone is listening for that UUID and records and instances of it. This is how the whole thing works.

GPS would be a privacy disaster, if it it did work for this. Random rotates beacons are a privacy issue if you don’t trust your phone mfg, which you should not, but as long as it’s an optional thing is O.K. in the way AppleGoogle are proposing.


That's how it can tell you were very close to someone -- all of the other tracking apps do it that way, too.


I'm not familiar with app engineering, but wouldn't the location access be enough for that?


It's not app engineering, it's a comparison of GPS accuracy (especially indoors) vs a bluetooth beacon. Beacons work great no matter where you go.

I'm currently on the 11th floor of a building. GPS accuracy in the vertical dimension is much worse than horizontal. A bluetooth beacon will tell you if I'm in the same room with someone else.


yes, this is standard affair permissions


I don't see an advantage of such an app over carrier level tracking (for the purposes of enforcing quarantine or social distancing). It has loads of advantages if you want this to also serve unrelated population surveillance purposes.


> I don't see an advantage of such an app over carrier level tracking (for the purposes of enforcing quarantine or social distancing)

Carrier location data doesn't have the resolution necessary for this to be effective. The carrier may be able to tell, for example, that you and I were in the same mall for 15 minutes, but there'd be no way to know how likely it is that one of us may have infected the other - we may never have come within 10 meters of each other.

Using the app-based approach (assuming universal penetration and, you know, proper implementation) you could infer with a relatively high degree of confidence whether we were near enough to each other (or a common third contact) to require quarantine.

That's an important distinction if your goal is to isolate as few people as possible so that the rest of life can go on.


Even the carrier level of detail makes manual contact tracing much easier, while simultaneously preserving some sort of privacy.


You might be right. I hadn't considered that they could be checking for contact at such a fine resolution.


I may be out of date with the tech, but doesn’t carrier-level tracking only give you the cell tower that you are closest to? And even then, not always?


You can triangulate based on cells. In urban areas the accuracy is around 25m or was 14 years ago.


Triangulation is not the only option available to carriers, it is just the easiest/cheapest.


I would really really try and understand the need of such app before making sweeping generalised statements like this. It's even more despicable for me since you know the govt officials are working their asses off for me and my family round the clock with no respite in sight. I have nothing but a new found respect for all the real corona warriors out there in the field.


Don't you think you're laying it on a bit thick?


Probably yes, but I mean the people out there serving us are people too. Let's stop demonising every move. Now is the time to stand together.


> Now is the time to stand together.

Historically this phrase has always been used by people who organize and consume other people's economic output. And they most decisively do not "serve you". That is a euphemism like the slogans written on the barn wall in "Animal Farm".

I've literally never heard this phrase from a work horse.


Why do these people pretend that law enforcement excess, homelessness, government overreach, racism poverty and power abuse is just limited to certain countries ???

I live in America and I have donated to homeless causes here over the years.

So every time someone brings poverty in India as a trope - I ask them to politely look in the mirror.

Poverty is everywhere - just the color of skin is different!


For starters, I don't see any indication that the parent comment pretends that these things are limited to certain countries. They're simply adding their perspective on India, and we can agree or disagree with the points but most people on HN are not intimately familiar with the country so it may have some value.

It also remains the case that the things they claim seem especially pronounced in India compared to in the US or certainly other developed countries. Is there no way to indicate this in a discussion about India without someone responding with a list of problems they see in the US?


> They are also planning an e pass feature which will be required to board a flight/metro. Chinese level dystopian shit in the works.

From Bill Gates notes [0]: "Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it."

IMO most (if not all) of steps being taken by India have been guided by world experts opinion on tackling this pandemic and it's too early to be panic about such measures. Let this virus problem be gone and we can then talk if government continues to keep such tracking in-place

Btw, Indian legal system is no joke when it comes to higher courts - often courts have struck down laws not according to the fundamental spirit of the constitution. In a landmark judgement in August, 2017, India's Supreme Court Upholds Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right [1]:

> The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.

0: https://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/A-coronavirus-AMA

1: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/08/indias-supreme-court-u...


You are giving too much credit to Google and Apple, I think...


I have seen how Google and Apple do things and I have seen how government do things. I would any day trust my data to something made by Google or Apple than something made or managed by the government. Yeah yeah sure the government is 'accountable' but the accountability barn door is pointless when the privacy horse has long fled, as is much likely to happen with the government's cavalier approach and practices.

Look we get the anti-big-tech angst but when it starts ignoring on-ground facts it just sounds like angry rambling.


You are forgetting that the government already has your data.

You already use you most confidential data to pay taxes and divulge all income sources. So you want to give that data to private entities as well?

God.


but Google and Apple have all that information already and the big pipe to the government is still open... just stop ignoring facts?


All the more reason to not give that data to the government, right, if they don't already have it?


Why would you recommend to use company "A" just because it doesn't need to have data "D" to provide feature "X" if it has access to data "D" through other means anyways and they share it anyways with the other entity Government "G" that you are so much against using secret laws...


> FYI the law enforcement, legal system is a complete joke in India

Exactly what is a "complete joke" about the legal system ? The whole in its entirety ?

> They are also planning an e pass feature which will be required to board a flight/metro

Wasn't this the future everyone imagined ? or we all want to carry more X number of cards ?


>Exactly what is a "complete joke" about the legal system ? The whole in its entirety ?

As a share of GDP, India spends less than almost any other country on criminal justice. The legal system is plagued with almost absurd delays, with many cases taking over a decade to come to trial. India is the most corrupt country in Asia and one of the most corrupt in the world; bribing police officers is the norm rather than the exception. Extrajudicial killings by police are organised, commonplace and are ignored or condoned by politicians and the judiciary.

I can't think of any part of the Indian criminal justice system that isn't severely dysfunctional.

https://www.firstpost.com/long-reads/indias-criminal-justice...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/suparnagoswami/2017/03/08/study...

https://www.economist.com/asia/2018/08/18/the-shortcomings-o...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encounter_killings_by_police


There are several countries in Asia with higher levels of corruption.


This is just the most negative take you can have on the system.

> The legal system is plagued with almost absurd delays

Explained in other sibling comment.

> India is the most corrupt country in Asia

but not the most corrupt in the world right ? not even in top 10. And you choose to say "a complete joke".

> Extrajudicial killings by police are organised, commonplace and are ignored or condoned by politicians and the judiciary

Law doesn't work like that. It would be a major problem if judiciary was just able to do what it "thinks" is correct.

> I can't think of any part of the Indian criminal justice system that isn't severely dysfunctional.

Don't even know how to respond to that. Maybe become a judge in a court ?


Your justification for extra-judicial stuff is nonsense. Do you know what happened in hyderabad recently?


There are any number of lacunae in the Indian system:

- No codified tort law.

- Most things are done through Criminal Law, even many of which are better dealt with through Civil Law.

- Ineffective perjury provisions.

- Lack of Jury system with requirement of unanimous verdict.

- Lack of recourse against wrongful imprisonment.

- No Miranda act like right to remain silent. That is the right against self incrimimation is weak and ineffictual in India.

- Death Penalty still remains.

- The police does not operate as per the Peelian Principles.

- Lower courts are rubber stamps, they never refuse prosecution.


> Exactly what is a "complete joke" about the legal system ? The whole in its entirety ?

Court cases can take 6 to 10 years for a judge to make a decision.

India needs more courts and judges but for some reason does not build more courts.


> India needs more courts and judges but for some reason does not build more courts.

You do know why. Because its a low pay job and private jobs are paying higher.

Becoming a lawyer will earn you 10x more than any judge. And so we have no shortage of lawyers.

But then I assume you would counter this with "so govt should pay them higher" ?


Why would I say that?

Judges can still make money via plain old corruption, incase you didnt know Indian judicial system is pretty corrupt.

What is your solution?


Every judicial system is corrupt. Indian judicial system works and people have faith in it. Could it be made better? Hell yes.


How can it work when you yourself admit that its corrupt?


Simple, softwares work even though they can have bugs. The judicial system is not perfect with a lot that can be improved. It works because people haven't lost faith in it and almost all disputes reach courts instead of streets.


> It works because people haven't lost faith in it

You clearly have not dealt with the Indian Judicial system, there are some things in life you need to experience yourself to understand it, Indian Judicial system is one of them.

> almost all disputes reach courts instead of streets.

No, lot of people just give up because they know there is no point in wasting 10 years for the court case to finish. Isn't that the definition of people losing faith?

If maby people dont use your software because its buggy then its really an issue not a feature.


You shouldn't make such assumptions without knowing about somebody. I have dealt with the judicial system.

> No, lot of people just give up because they know there is no point in wasting 10 years for the court case to finish. Isn't that the definition of people losing faith?

Where are these "lots of people" if the system is drowning in new cases all over the place? The definition of people losing faith in a "corrupt judiciary" would be mass protests, street judgments.

Please don't misunderstand that I am saying the system is without issues (huge problems, time being the biggest like you say) but to insinuate that Indian judicial system is pretty corrupt and/or dysfunctional is hyperbolic.


> I have dealt with the judicial system.

Then you would be familiar with how corrupt it is.

> Where are these "lots of people" if the system is drowning in new cases all over the place?

They are everywhere, probably some in your family as well who would have told you its better to avoid the justice system.

> The definition of people losing faith in a "corrupt judiciary" would be mass protests, street judgments.

An alternative definition would be people just avoiding the justice system by not going to the court or settle the case themselves using money and muscle.

I dont really understand why you are trying to defend a corrupt system, I get it you are an Indian on HN and you dont like people telling the truth about India but you cannot put your head in the sand.


> I dont really understand why you are trying to defend a corrupt system, I get it you are an Indian on HN and you dont like people telling the truth about India but you cannot put your head in the sand.

Hmm, ok, I don't to keep on hashing this out. If this is what you understood from my comments, it's unfortunate. India has a corrupt judicial system like anywhere else and trying to paint it like some anomaly in the pool of democratic nations is what I don't understand. Just feeds to the misconception of "shithole country" many seem to hold.


> Just feeds to the misconception of "shithole country" many seem to hold.

Please dont do this, there is really no need to hide your head in the sand, we literally have people shitting on the streets, why not simply accept that instead of saving face in front of foreigners?


  > The definition of people losing faith in a "corrupt   
  > judiciary" would be mass protests, street judgments.
Absence of "mass protests" isn't gauge of things are normal. To take an example there weren't any mass protests during Stalin's reign in Russia. Also it is not that there aren't "street judgements" in India, there are many incidences which don't reach the courts. For example despite illegal still there still exists "Khap Panchayats" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khap)


> Wasn't this the future everyone imagined ? or we all want to carry more X number of cards ?

I think you're referring to the future where all tickets are digital, which is fine. This is in addition to the ticket, id checks etc. You will need to show the aarogya setu e pass to prove that you're low risk, don't have a history of coming in contact with a person having covid 19. In theory it sounds fine, the devil is in the details : having to link phone number, have all location history stored etc. If its like how apple and google designed it, I would be fine with it. Privacy is preserved. And this should never be mandatory in the first place. Reading : https://covid19-static.cdn-apple.com/applications/covid19/cu...


You really thing the google-apple way is preserving privacy ? People have problems with that too.

I am sure the devil is in the details, but its easier to slam the govt doing anything.

Reading: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-europe...


Just like how valiantly the govt has prevented the Aadhar database from leaking again (and again, all the while claiming Aadhar is completely optional), I am sure they will be able to make a completely secure application this time too.

I don't even need to go to point that the government will have intentions to abuse it, it's the incompetence of those fucking morons that will doom us all.


More privacy friendly than setu. It upfront asks you about more information than it needs and also the tracking system seems to use more than bluetooth.


Never Attribute to Malice That Which Is Adequately Explained by Stupidity


Sufficiently advanced malice often pretends to be stupidity, to deliberately exploit the tendency people have to view the world as you describe.


> > - a mobile phone number - location and bluetooth, always on - name,profession

> The mobile number part concerns me. Government wants to use it as a way to contact people but the potential for abuse is there.

As opposed to all the above mentioned data that is already there with every government in the world for years. Do you really think that the government doesn't have your mobile no, name and profession? It's on your tax data for god's sake. And any government can already track your location with existing cell infrastructure with enough precision to term you an enemy of the state and whisk you away.

The potential for abuse is there in everything. Everything. Technology used to make fertilizers by Fritz Haber was used to make explosives. Fire can be used to give warmth as well as burn witches at the stake. So should we just all die and be done with it all to stop the abuse of anything?

> They are also planning an e pass feature which will be required to board a flight/metro. Chinese level dystopian shit in the works.

Even without the pandemic, boarding flights and travel was already dystopian across the world. So no changes there really.

> To top it all off, non compliance is a criminal offence. FYI the law enforcement, legal system is a complete joke in India.

And it is better in the US, UK or Europe? How many years did Nixon get? How many did Clinton get for his sexual assault? What happened to Epstien? What about Sir Jimmy Saville? What about Guantanamo Bay? What about.... you get the point, right?

Predicting the future is hard. If there is a dictatorship after this has been dealt with, the people can and will rise to stop any abuses of power. After all, India has a lot of experience with revolutions - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emergency_(India)


If what you say is true, theb why build it at all? Why spend money when existing infrastructure if government can already do it? Neither answer results in happy conclusions.


Scale and legal issues.

Existing tracking measures are used on limited suspected criminals and requires paperwork to cover legal aspects of it. Some kind of approvals are required by magistrate, police etc. And these measures are not built to track thousands of people real time.


You know that the app can be removed at any instant, once the lockdown is over?

Contact tracing in India, which has one of the lowest Police / People ratios in the world, is extremely difficult. There are a billion+ people and simply not enough personnel to do any contact tracing.

Sections of the society are hostile towards medical and police personnel.

What alternative do you suggest? One that can be implemented immediately.

> The mobile number part concerns me. Government wants to use it as a way to contact people but the potential for abuse is there

What abuse are you talking about?

> Installing this app is mandatory for public and private companies. So if you are an employee, you have no choice in the matter. It's like a surveillance state in the making.

These are the ones who are travelling. What better method is there to execute contact tracing?

> They are also planning an e pass feature which will be required to board a flight/metro. Chinese level dystopian shit in the works.

The virus is in India due to international travelers. You would want to know where an international traveler has been during his travel. Once someone is out of India, the govt. can't do anything.

> Random cops stopping to ensure you have the app installed? Happening. Non complaince? Do situps, get beaten with a lathi. I wish I was joking.

If you are roaming out when there is a lockdown, the cops ought to check the app. The app is meant for contact tracing. About getting beaten or made to do situps, in my view, a far lesser punishment rather than charging and going the legal route. Than would be draconian.

Also, this requirement for app installation is because the lockdown is being considerably relaxed in majority of the country.

I would agree about privacy issues if the govt. asks citizens to use it even after this pandemic is done. In that case, I myself will go to the streets to fight.

But, in the current situation, this is absolutely required and the only cost-effective, efficient way for contact tracing in a country like India.


> If you are roaming out when there is a lockdown, the cops ought to check the app. The app is meant for contact tracing. About getting beaten or made to do situps, in my view, a far lesser punishment rather than charging and going the legal route. Than would be draconian.

Was watching the news channel yesterday. Some guy had spit on the road. The police made him take off his shirt, and wipe it on the road thoroughly. If this wasn't enough, they made him do squats, while holding his ears, in the middle of the road in everyone's view. At some point, it turned from a punishment to simply humiliating someone just because you have that power.

> I would agree about privacy issues if the govt. asks citizens to use it even after this pandemic is done. In that case, I myself will go to the streets to fight.

This is just a guess of mine since I don't think we have seen any new devices coming with this app pre-installed, cause who's buying phones now. The app won't be easy to uninstall, and even if you can uninstall with adb or disable, how many people do you think will do that?

Even if the app is easy to uninstall, most people will forget to uninstall until specifically asked to do so. I have seen so many Indians still content with the Cheetah bloatware that often comes pre-installed, oblivious to the fact that they are utterly useless.

> The mobile number part concerns me. Government wants to use it as a way to contact people but the potential for abuse is there

>What abuse are you talking about?

Do you remember the adhaar database leak? How much confidence do you have in our government's security measures?


> Do you remember the adhaar database leak?

A minor nitpick. It’s “leaks”, not leak. There have been many over the years.


I've read several quotes from the Indian government about Adhaar, and their attitude towards security stinks - they continually claimed that it's 100% secure and that leaks and abuses are impossible.

No system is 100% secure, and talking about it like that makes them look like clowns.


> You know that the app can be removed at any instant, once the lockdown is over?

But the data is with the government already, and as per their terms of service can be stored forever, and for any purpose they wish (as long as its a "legal requirement").

"“The personal information collected will not be used for any purpose other than those mentioned in this Clause 2 save as required in order to comply with a legal requirement.”

"All personal information collected from you under Clause 1(a) provided at the time of registration will be retained for as long as your account remains in existence and for such period thereafter as required for the purposes for which the information may lawfully be used or is otherwise required under any other law for the time being in force"

https://www.medianama.com/wp-content/uploads/Aarogya-Setu-Pr...

The government has already changed the privacy policy without notification, and for sure they can change it again and nobody - especially not a compliant judiciary - will stop them.


They are government employee, not a usual citizen. What is the relevance of that data after the lockdown? (They will be coming to the office every day like before)


Apart from historical location data, the govt already has much info about citizens. This app will not add anything new.


Then, there’s no need for the app. The government can use the data which it “already has”.


> You know that the app can be removed at any instant, once the lockdown is over?

Not according to this article : https://www.news18.com/news/tech/aarogya-setu-registration-w...

> According to officials with knowledge of the matter, the government of India is making it mandatory for all new smartphones to be sold in India post lifting of the lockdown to not just have the app as a pre-installed service, but also ensure that individuals register on it and set it up, before beginning to use their new smartphones. [...] This will make the Aarogya Setu app an inbuilt feature on all new smartphones, that will be sold in India going forward.


> Sections of the society are hostile towards medical and police personnel.

> About getting beaten or made to do situps, in my view, a far lesser punishment rather than charging and going the legal route. Than would be draconian.

I wonder why they are hostile? Could it maybe be because their civil liberties get massively infringed on a regular basis?


> their civil liberties get massively infringed on a regular basis?

^This in addition with rumors spread among these sections,


There is a fear that medical personnel might spread the disease.

Yeah, police force is a complex beast in India. Just like anywhere in the world.

Regarding civil liberties, can you specify why you have come to such a conclusion?

There are countless instances where police have infringed civil liberties, as well as countless instances where the police were ineffective.


> There are a billion+ people

> simply not enough personnel to do any contact tracing.

Those seem a bit contradictory, no? China also has over a billion people and managed to find the labor to perform contact tracing.


China is already a surveillance state though, so it's not really a good example.


China has made QR readers checkpoints across city to track people's each and every movement.


When the pandemic started, they hired thousands of people to do the old-fashioned, labor intensive version of contact tracing. Technology and preexisting state powers certainly played a part, but the manual contact tracing is very transferrable everywhere.


China is already a police that tracks every bit of data on their part of the internet. They don't need manual labor or new apps for contact tracing because they already had the infrastructure built.


But why are they using this instead of any other protocol or spec released by anyone else that offers more privacy than this crap.


Are those protocols available for potentially any cell phone in the world and devices that could be years old?

For examples has Nokia releases a protocol?


You know the current procotol that setu app uses is way more battery consuming than apple-google's bluetooth only approach.

I wonder how those poor old phones will survive with it.

(I don't wish to engage more because I don't think you are looking for a good faith argument here because android app released by the government won't work on those Nokias and I don't see why you can't have two different appS with different level of efficiency because you will need two different apps regardless?)


Yes, those protocols would be available to any cell phone in the world and old devices to the same extent as any other legally-mandated protocol would be.

For example, if government can order than Nokia release a privacy-harming contract-tracing feature, then the government can instead order that Nokia release a privacy-enhanced version based on the Google-Apple protocols instead (or any other better protocols people have developed).

It would be more effective for the pandemic too, because you want maximum interoperability.

And it would be more effective for the pandemic because you will get better compliance too. If people know they are 100% tracked with full transparency they are more motivated to find ways to cheat, especially when doing something "disapproved" (like seeing your secret lover), which is not good for countering the pandemic. People will definitely find ways to cheat the tracing if they are motivated.


The exact reason why there are lockdowns the world over instead of everyone doing nothing while waiting for a vaccine. Or why the human history is filled with flawed and working solutions for everything instead of perfect and imaginary solutions.

There might be better protocols or specs available. But no one other that a doomsday cultist can afford the bodies to start piling up while doing nothing instead of doing something.


Why exactly it is "crap"? And which other protocol would be better than this?


Govt hasn't mentioned anywhere that this is temporary. If it is just for contact tracing they could have atleast mentioned it in terms and conditions


Why is contact tracing even relevant at this point? Especially for india? The data we have on the virus shows that a lot of people are asymptomatic, we also have some serotyping testing data possibly indicating much higher infection numbers than previously thought.

That wouldn't be much of a problem if the outbreak would've just started now (which is the reason contact tracing made sense for South Korea) but why would India, with it's huge population and probably similar real spread timeline benefit from it at this point? To me most of the world missed the small window of time when contact tracing makes sense and it is now a complete red herring.

By the way, why would you assume they would pull out the app after the lockdown? I mean, you could always argue that it will still be needed to make sure there's no second, or third outbreak. And then needed to make sure everyone got the vaccine (everyone should absolutely get the vaccine when it eventually comes out, my point here is that there will always be more reasons to extend the usage of surveillance tools like this), and then maybe keep the app to prevent future outbreaks. Where do you eventually draw the line? Who decides when the pandemic is over especially considering how likely it is that it will become a seasonal disease? There is literally no incentive for governments to eventually stop.

They don't even need to have malicious intentions, it can be to avoid a future outbreak of a new disease that is this severe. But that's the whole point, there's always a seemingly good reason to increase surveillance and the excuse is often that there is no alternative. Which may be true, but all governments, even the most dictatorial ones, don't directly say that they are taking your rights for no reason. It's always because of foreign spies, to fight terrorism, to protect the nation or the most often used excuse: to keep people safe.


https://twitter.com/pokershash/status/1251452345994510336?s=...

Check at 50 secs. There is police commissioner there. And the guys still got killed over bunch of rumours.

Don't believe that the government or law enforcement is there to protect you.


> What alternative do you suggest? One that can be implemented immediately.

Let's say the same one but put some privacy in place. Let's have full transparency about how the information is used. Maybe put a more privacy friendly law in place like GDPR. Something that keeps the govn in check.

Or another alternative: Use the Apple-Google approach and their APIs.

> What abuse are you talking about? With a first name and last name direct identification is a bit hard. With a unique number that is tied directly to an individual like the phone number... IDK... What can you do when you know exactly where everyone SPECIFICALLY has been or is right now. Maybe know that who lives with who? Maybe be able to deduce when ppl are cheating? Maybe be able to use this location data for extortion?


for burglary - detecting when no one is at home; for rape - detecting when a girl is alone or in a secluded location; for blackmail - detecting who sleeps with whom; for stealing trade secrets - detecting clients/suppliers a businessmen meets with; for insider trading; for contract killings; .......................


> What alternative do you suggest? One that can be implemented immediately.

Make India a British colony again as of today? Seriously, do you think Gandhi would approve of this app?


[flagged]


That may be so, but clearly the previous comment was referring to an idealized version of Gandhi to soften and explain the first sentence.

If people need a translation: "Why did you fight for independence if you throw your freedoms away now?"

eklavya 23 days ago [flagged]

Why do you think it's overkill? What alternative do you propose? Do you not think touting the horn of privacy in this crisis where everybody is unprepared is doing us any good? Why do you think it will remain once this is all over?

> FYI the law enforcement, legal system is a complete joke in India.

That's just garbage.


Please don't post in the flamewar style to HN, even when another comment was provocative. It just makes the thread even worse.

If you wouldn't mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and sticking to the rules when posting here, we'd appreciate it. Note this one:

"Comments should get more thoughtful and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive."


> Do you not think touting the horn of privacy in this crisis where everybody is unprepared is doing us any good?

That's a false equivalence, there are much more private contact tracing approaches that exist today, backed by device manufacturers. Governments that aren't using those approaches should justify with actual evidence why they're not appropriate, rather than asking if we won't just think of the children.

> Why do you think it will remain once this is all over?

Because there is a large body of evidence throughout history that suggests exactly this.


So we should give all this data to the foreign companies instead of our own elected govt? Because surely they would never abuse it?

> Because there is a large body of evidence throughout history that suggests exactly this.

Yeah, one govt tried that, people didn't like it and people won. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emergency_(India)


> So we should give all this data to the foreign companies instead of our own elected govt?

Or give the data to no one and do contact tracing in a privacy preserving way like the one apple and google designed? https://covid19-static.cdn-apple.com/applications/covid19/cu...


I might be misunderstand it but reading the document I couldn't see that this doesn't involve providing any data. I don't see a way how this could work without sharing data with authorities. The document seems to imply that the data WILL be shared with public health authorities (govt). So I don't see how this is better.

> • Each user will have to make an explicit choice to turn on the technology. It can also be turned off by the user at any time.

Ok, I can give you this one, for people who are mandated by law to have this installed, uninstalling is not an option.

> • This system does not collect location data from your device, and does not share the identities of other users to each other, Google or Apple. The user controls all data they want to share, and the decision to share it.

Yeah, but they have to share it to get any meaningful data, right?

> • Bluetooth privacy-preserving beacons rotate every 10-20 minutes, to help prevent tracking.

Don't know whether the app has this one.

> • Exposure notification is only done on device and under the user's control. In addition people who test positive are not identified by the system to other users, or to Apple or Google.

I would be damned if the govt app was exposing identities either.

> • The system is only used for contact tracing by public health authorities apps.

Sure, that's the whole purpose of the govt app too.

> • Google and Apple can disable the exposure notification system on a regional basis when it is no longer needed.

Not related to privacy I think.


There has been questions to apple-google ct too, but I always take any country's gov's actions with skeptism. Especially, when they are not making the details/specs public.

Also, have a read: https://covid19-static.cdn-apple.com/applications/covid19/cu...


Read section "Where is the data stored and who has access to it?"

All data is stored on phone only, till the point someone is marked as Covid+. Then only the beacon tokens are uploaded to a central whitelist, wherein every phone can download and verify if they came in contact. In case of the contact data only for that day is shared.

Primary difference govt. can know only limited data of people who are +ve or came in contact not a perpetual continuous tracking of every mobile.


>So we should give all this data to the foreign companies instead of our own elected govt? Because surely they would never abuse it?

If you want an honest answer, I would rather give it to Apple/Google.

At least they will not send their officially hired goons to my house to beat me up due to some perceived slight that I might have committed.


Just don't do this kind of tracing at all then.

>Yeah, one govt tried that, people didn't like it and people won.

After 21 months. Almost two years. From your own link:

>For much of the Emergency, most of Gandhi's political opponents were imprisoned and the press was censored. Several other human rights violations were reported from the time, including a forced mass-sterilization campaign spearheaded by Sanjay Gandhi, the Prime Minister's son.


> So we should give all this data to the foreign companies instead of our own elected govt?

Seems like you haven’t read about the contact tracing technology and the policies of Apple and Google in what they’re developing. There is no data taken off the device by those companies through the APIs they provide. Apps developed by the government healthcare administration can take the data and push it anywhere though.


> should justify with actual evidence why they're not appropriate

The justification is incompetent (not trying to insult govt workers here but you know only people who got no private jobs in engineering look towards govt jobs) because the smart people wont join govt jobs because govt jobs don't pay as much.

I don't think govt needs to say it out loud because it would change nothing and helps no one.


This is a matter of public health in a very serious pandemic. There cannot be privacy for this to work and a little bit less privacy is a very little inconvenience in comparison of the effect of the pandemic.

The people who tested positive must be known, the people who came in close contact with them must be known. Testing, quarantines, and self-isolation must be enforced.

For tracing apps to work they must also be running on the vast majority of smartphones so this also cannot be left to the good will of people.

This is common sense. Countries and people that have understood that, e.g. Korea, Taiwan, have crushed the virus. The sooner the virus is crushed the sooner we can forget about tracing apps.


Ridiculous. There are plenty of proposals for privacy oriented contact tracing apps.


[flagged]


I think the distinction is whether the point of contact tracing data is for A) centralized authority to use state resources to mitigate spread B) inform private individuals whether they've been exposed and empower them to self isolate. Any reasonable assessment is going to conclude the latter does not work well for epidemiological containment, especially in places drunk on liberty.

Current successful trace and isolation systems in places with more trust in government and compliance recognized individual responsibility does not scale. America's cultural preoccupation's with muh freedom is influencing the contact tracing frame work by Google + Apple - the only one that will be ubiquitous and interoperable enough to be meaningful - hence them butting heads with various governments. One one hand delivering a minimally useful privacy preserving system is a sensible start, on the other hand, that's all it is, a start.

Governments who are serious about covid19 is going to build off this technology to to strip away the privacy pretenses and execute effective trace + isolation strategies. Many of them will also abuse it in the aftermath. It maybe the new normal, but it's not too different from the old normal.


Indeed and I think that people here are unfortunately not interested in reasonable assessments...


I guess you missed the big discussion about the attempting-to-preserve-privacy Apple-Google app. You might want to read up about it before making lots of statements.


I have and my point stands.

Again, the point is not just to send a text to people. The point is for the authorities to get the people's details in order to enforce a public health procedure from testing to self-isolation, as well as getting epidemiological data.

The libertarian utopia does not work at all in such a situation.

I mentioned Korea and Taiwan. You could read up about it...


I don't think everyone agrees with what you claim "the point" is. Which is why your comments seem so nonsensical to many.


Too many people here live in a bubble if they find common sense nonsensical.

Gimmicky apps might be sufficient to pitch VCs but actual effectiveness against an epidemic is obviously different and requires government leadership.


Reminder that the same government has leaked billions of records so far. More leaks than the people in the entire country.

One example - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/04...

And you can find many. You won't get anyone caring about privacy in government offices. A lot of government workers here are negligent pension parasites. I expect the same in most parts.

I know of a few sites where they don't do any validation on the server side and it's easy to fake being authenticated by sending an additional header. There are quite a few sites with firebase without any granular validation or access control implemented. Some even allow SQL injection attacks using some old php framework. I sent them email but no response. And Frankly speaking, I would be very worried about sending anything security related to government without using some anonymous non traceable email because you might be put into jail.

They can't even handle surges in scale. Most government sites are broken. Any student who has ever had to deal with it knows it. Any business person who depends on those sites for approval knows it.

They also require biometrics to sign in some of those sites now. Absolutely baffling with no alternative.

This is absolutely bad. More so as when they want to release personal protection data bill around September - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Data_Protection_Bil...

Obligatory internet shutdowns - https://internetshutdowns.in/

Jio using sni to block sites - https://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/reliance-jio-...

They block more than porn sites including vpns and normal communication tools - https://qz.com/india/1547142/not-just-porn-indian-telecom-fi...

This is a surveillance state in the making.


Yep India tops the list of Internet Shutdowns, they shutdown the internet for petty reasons like "school exams" so that kids don't cheat or the paper won't "leak" to shutting down internet whenever there is a mass agitation. Kashmir is an entire different thing, its been more than 8 months that the entire state has no full access to the internet.


I don't think the problem is students cheating but that the test is designed in a way that cheating provides more benefit than learning/honesty.

The cultural pressure cooker is also there and the rat race comes after.


See my research thread at https://twitter.com/GeoffreyHuntley/status/12561244277810626... into the Australian contact tracing application. Pay close attention to the problems people are having when signing up and registering. Lack to response from the Government has been highly frustrating. Leadership is parroting amount of downloads as success but let's be honest it's a vanity metric if people are having signup issues (and they really are)


We put together a panel of software engineers who studied the actual source code because the government had failed to provide a credible expert that the media could interface with. This caused many issues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3dN99ljgD4


See previous discussion on HN at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22986147


I'm just wondering, what if a person doesnt have smartphone? There are many elderly people who still have Nokia 1100 or something like that, and do not care. Will they get beaten every day? Or if this is mandatory, will the government provide free devices to everyone?


In Poland they make people install government issued App or declare[1] under threat of perjury that you don’t own a suitable device.

> will the government provide free devices to everyone?

Free and subdermal. /s

[1] https://www.gov.pl/attachment/f3014313-bed3-4012-98fa-ea35bf...


Nice, I hope these Nokia phones make a comeback. I miss the long battery life.


I've just checked that my old LG flip phone still works, perhaps I'll have to start using it.


First I’m seeing this, is it only for when you cross the border into Poland?


It’s for the imposed quarantine, so my understanding is if you cross the border or have a positive test.

More information:

https://www.gov.pl/attachment/dfc022ca-df40-4b81-94e4-44ef20... or:

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https...


Because of who is at most risk from the virus, it seems plausible that elderly people will be told they are not to leave their homes at all.

That's one of the options being talked about in the UK at the moment. Everyone vulnerable (has asthma, etc.), or old, told to stay in lockdown while other people are allowed to work. It's not policy, it's just being thought about.

Which might be worse than getting beaten, who knows. Imagine being an elderly undocumented person with no government support, in an environment where you're not allowed out any more and stand out visibly in crowds, and political support for blanket emergency handouts has come to an end.


Yes, those elderly would have to taking the beatings, until they receive their free devices from Government. </sarcasm>


Contact tracing is useless at this point. Contact tracing is good when there are dozens of cases, maybe even hundreds, but not millions.

It'll be good for the next pandemic - but not this one.

Over the next 12 months, we should focus on how we change society to be more sanitary, in general.


Incorrect. After implementing a lockdown, and getting R<1, essentially brings you back to square one. That's when contact tracing is implemented and lockdown ends. The contact tracing will keep R<1 until a vaccine/better treatments/ICU's are implemented. A secondary lockdown might be needed in case people another outbreak occurs.


The feasibility of contact tracing has nothing to do with the R. It's practicality is purely based upon your ability to contact people who are infected.

Sure, tech tools that automate part of that process, increase that number - maybe even benefit more rural place - but if you launched it in NYC right now, it'll just notify literally everyone in the city, day one. That's not useful.


You don’t know that. Some people are more affective at social distancing than others.


Probably, but the news media in Western countries - particularly the US and UK - have been pushing the narrative that it's essential for, basically, partisan political reasons. In the US, it's being used as part of the attack on Trump over the CDC screwing up testing because the media doesn't like him, whereas in the UK it's part of a narrative that the reason we stopped contact tracing is part of a plot by our government to kill the elderly. In both cases, it's basically intended to create the perception that the ruling political party killed huge numbers of people. If it causes other countries to do stupid, counterproductive things that's just collateral damage.

Meanwhile, China has been pushing the claim that they contained Covid-19 via contact tracing and testing as part of the "model for the rest of the world" narrative they're using to fight domestic anger at their handling of the outbreak, with the WHO's help. (This does not seem to be an accurate description of what they actually did to contain it.)


2/3 of India's population does not have smartphones, which makes even the purported use of this app completely useless.


This is only for government employees.


It is now mandatory for both public and private sector employees.


And you are naively thinking that all workers are registered in the government database.


Enforcement is done by threatening the owners of the company with jail for non-compliance by their employees. It works to some extent.


For whatever reason, whenever the Indian government does dystopian or downright anti-human shit, a whole bunch of apologists descend on threads to support the government. Does India have have a "50 cent party" like the Chinese do? Or is it a lack of civic/rights education in technical colleges in India? Ive noticed this even among Indian/Chinese expats that go complete nuts defending whoever they have in power back home.


Eh, it is the same for Poland. Even relatively minor criticism is immediately assumed to be a deliberate attack on the ruling party and so proponents of the current government descend. I am not ruling out paid supporters, but besieged castle defense is a well known tactic for politicians. Case in point, coworker is Indian, and not overly pro or anti Modi, but you can't say a bad thing about him without surprinsingly strong defese. Something about doing it for India's interest. It is an argument.


OH, yesss India has it's version of "50 cent party", and a huge "IT Cell" which deals with targeted campaigns against any one who speaks against them. But there's also a huge section of the population who do it on their own, maybe it's ideological alliance.


The apologists support a right wing party known as the BJP which is in power. These people are not paid by the government or anything, it's that they genuinely believe in the hindutva ideology and this is the most concerning part. Good catch and watch out for this pattern to repeat itself.


Its cultural clash, people in that country doesn't think its bad, or dystopian, or anti-human. They have their point of view as to why its necessary. Maybe its culturally accepted, or the benefits outweighs the downsides, or that its a tactical solution to a serious problem. Each country has a different, history, circumstance, cultural and perspective. For instance, Western cultures think Marijuana is acceptable. On the other hand, most Chinese people think any kind of drug that causes addiction is bad because the massive massive drug problem in China starting from the opium wars. Drugs devastated a massive number of regular communities while made interest groups and certain capitalists filthy rich. Later the PRC government crackdown on drugs hard, draconian by western standards and people applauded it because they think its for the greater good. Today, a lot of Chinese people do not accept western's acceptance of Marijuana, they think allowing Marijuana in their communities is bad for their kids. Another instance, Americans feel gun ownership is absolute right but other cultures think its dangerous to have civilian ownership of guns. I think that government is an reflection of the culture and people. When people say cultural equality and people are equal from one another, its a lot easier to do that when its part of the same culture group. But when the culture is a lot different, its hard to view each other equally.


People defend the government until government doesn't need any defending to stay in power. I truly believe people in most threads genuinely want their party to win. They are doing it for themselves and image of India. They don't want to look inferior to foreigners.

Indian schools teach patriotism from nursery.

There is a reason why you have an hour long morning assembly to indoctrinate young kids into pledging loyalty to their country. Spreading misinformation about the nation along the way with skids on Fridays. You will often hear teacher calling hindi national language or misguiding people about the cultural values.

The history class is ridden with errors. People pretend they have read mahabharat while they haven't. People pretend they know Gandhi while they don't. Maybe they do, but they seem to ignore everything from him being pedo to possibly engaging in homosexuality with German solider.


The Privacy Policy is extremely dangerous and has been changed silently already. Although it claims to restrict the purpose and time of data collection, it coolly has 2 additional clauses which give blanket power.

https://www.medianama.com/wp-content/uploads/Aarogya-Setu-Pr...

"“The personal information collected will not be used for any purpose other than those mentioned in this Clause 2 save as required in order to comply with a legal requirement.”

"All personal information collected from you under Clause 1(a) provided at the time of registration will be retained for as long as your account remains in existence and for such period thereafter as required for the purposes for which the information may lawfully be used or is otherwise required under any other law for the time being in force"


This policy is ridiculous - the phrasing is so broad as to allow almost any retention period and almost any use by any part of the government or security services. Which presumably is the point.


The covid choice: 1) you jail your poulation for 2 years, 2) you adopt a police-state, 3) you accept 1% of your population will die. Seems that India is going for 2).


India was always a surveillance state in the making, thanks to Aadhaar.

The Indian government is now utilizing the crisis to fast-pace the process. Not only are they planning to make the contact tracing app registration on new phones mandatory, they're also planning to bring the app to feature phones.

Source: Aarogya Setu coming on feature phones; to cover the entire country https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/aarogya-s...


Interesting, thanks. "Never let a good crisis go to waste."


Has Aadhaar been used for surveilling people?


Yes, and even for knocking people off of voter lists in Andhra Pradesh.


Any reference for that? Voters list is routinely updated.


Buffer stock gets wasted every year or mysteriously stolen. They stock more than they need to for some odd reasons again (oh yeah, they need to have something to sell in the black market).

7k+ people die every day due to hunger in india. If government cared when they could easily solve this. (3k are kids).

So I don't think it's about people.

[Removed]


1% of India’s population is 13.4 million people.

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=1%25%20of%20India%20pop...

That is 1913 days of deaths by starvation at the rate you specify.

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=1%25%20of%20India%20pop...

Five and a quarter years.


How many people are dead due to covid so far?

I am making a bad faith argument but that doesn't mean proposing the 1% of entire country will die due to not having a privacy invasive contact tracing app.


1% is the approximate fatality rate with treatment.

1% is the “good” (less bad) outcome if everyone catches it in a controlled rate before vaccinations are ready.

You only get less than that with a lockdown of some sort. You get way more than that if the medical system can’t keep up with demand.

What’s the medical system like in India these days?


The problem with this though is all the data I look seems to be such a huge % of deaths of people over 75-80.

That demographic is going to die soon from something. There is a level of irrationality with all this in pretending that we are dramatically extending the lives of 80yos.

I remember the first death in NYC, Cuomo said they were over 70 and would have died from the flu also because they were in poor health. We have completely lost that level of rationality.

A huge % of the people we are "saving" are going to die in the next year from something else.

When I have tried to express this thought to people I have mostly got a sarcastic "yea fuck grandma, let her die" response that is completely irrational.


I don't think you can compare Coronavirus with the Flu. The effects are totally different. Especially from what I have read about from survivors. It is fucking scary to say the least. A British lady (age 39) has described the virus as like having "glass in your lungs" [1]. You don't get that with common Flu. This virus is killing even the younger generation. So I don't think we can call the fear "irrational".

[1]: https://nypost.com/2020/03/20/like-having-glass-in-your-lung...


This is why the discussion should focus on impact to average life expectancy, not raw fatality numbers.


I don't understand where you are going with this. Can you show me that contact tracing can make significant difference? If not, then I won't consider the other points as they are simply irrelevant. Without the setu app being mandatory, going by government figures (which I doubt somewhat), only about 1.2k people have died so far.

I will consider that as a starting point and compare this to all the unnecessary deaths that happen in the country which government blatantly ignores.

And we still spend 3.6% of the total GDP on the healthcare so not really good. Could be anecdote but I am seeing less specialists in india and more dentists, dermatologist, and cosmetics.

Government hospitals are still unhygienic where I live so I won't even consider going there.


> Can you show me that contact tracing can make significant difference?

It’s a standard technique that has been successfully used for a long time. For example, it’s how smallpox was finally wiped out.

(This is a separate point to “does this particular app look suspicious?” to which I say “yes”).

> going by government figures (which I doubt somewhat), only under 1k people have died so far.

In India, which is doing the things you’re complaining about.

Meanwhile, the USA, which has less than a quarter of India’s population, has 65,605.

Are you familiar with exponential growth, or do you only ever see the word “exponential” used to mean “rapid” without the strict mathematical meaning?


> Without the setu app being mandatory, going by government figures (which I doubt somewhat), only about 1.2k people have died so far.

That's probably because we are in a strict lockdown which is not sustainable. The real effect of contract-tracing will be only be known when the economy is fully opened.


I'm not sure I understand -- you seem to think I'm making a "bad faith argument", rather I see it as an observation. China has gone for 2) (not that they weren't a police state already), Sweden for 3), the rest of Europe seems to be inching towards 2). Do you have a different view? (genuinely interested).

No need to worry about me getting scam calls, I don't have a phone.


Taking a second look, I will apologise. I was biased in how I perceived it.

Every indian thread makes me paranoid because I feel there is an IT mob hired or some invisible force trying to get it off the front-page or reverse the criticism. It's always the same names making rebuttal to comments, same downvote waves, and they try to put more comments than the upvotes to automatically kill the submission.


Are these the only choices, or are there more? I haven't seen any medical leader or government leader present these as the only choices.


Parent comment is generalizing. “Being in lockdown” is “jailing citizens”. Contact tracing is “surveillance state” etc


where is the 1% coming from?


Which is a lot better than 1) and 3), unless you are a glove carrying member of the Cult of Thanos.

Saying that some part of the population will die and should be left to die only seems like a very good idea when you are not in that part of the population.

And I really don't know where the 1% number is from. What guarantee you have that the number won't be 10%? 25%? 50%?


The 1% seems to be the death rate for the infected when there is healthcare available (i.e., not overloaded).

I'm not a member of a cult, but I would much rather have a 1% chance of dying than spend my life in a police-state. That's my personal preference (and yes, I am an old fart, so I have skin in this game).


The real question is, after this all dies down, will these apps be repurposed and become the new normal?


Yes, that is the plan.

> Registering on Aarogya Setu will be mandatory for all new smartphones before they can be set up and used, government sources told News18 earlier today. According to officials with knowledge of the matter, the government of India is making it mandatory for all new smartphones to be sold in India post lifting of the lockdown to not just have the app as a pre-installed service, but also ensure that individuals register on it and set it up, before beginning to use their new smartphones.

https://www.news18.com/news/tech/aarogya-setu-registration-w...


You betcha!


How much would you be willing to bet on this?


All the historical data of governments taking "emergency powers" and not letting them go afterwards.


Something, something, Patriot Act


"Never waste a crisis."


I don’t disagree with you. What are some historical instances of this that I can read up on?


The most significant, perhaps, was the aftermath of Reichstag fire [1]. What happened after that, we all know.

[1]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire


France having declared a state of emergency like 2+ years ago, and not lifting it until COVID-19 made it even less questionable to the public?


Let me rephrase, how much are you willing to bet that this app will be mandatory to be installed after the Covid crisis is over?


(I am Indian and live in India fwiw) How about 10k Rs to be donated to the winner's favorite charity? How about 1 January 2022 as a settlement date? If the app is still mandatory on that date, I win, else you do.


I will gladly take you up on that :) Bonus that whoever wins, money goes to a charity too.


Done!


I am not a gambler, but let's say $5 if you really wish to get money involved. Or a bottle of scotch.


I’m sure the app will be turned into the new “Healthy India” app with some name in Hindi that praises the Prime Minister and add many more “services” to entangle more people in its dragnet surveillance scheme.


Perhaps one of the best things to come out of publically documented efforts by Google, Apple and other researchers, is that in any country with a half-functioning legal system, lawsuits against the sort of app ordered by India can realistically point to a more privacy-oriented mechanism and ask "what is your defence for not using that instead".

I've been attending a zero-knowledge crypto conference recently and it is really interesting to see that all sorts of policy measures can be implemented in ways while continuing to preserve tbe private details of individuals.

Unfortunately the tech and math is not yet mature or ubiquitous enough for it to be assumed as the default way to do what India wants to do.

Eventually it may be. Meanwhile, I'm please the Google-Apple thing is being looked at, and pleased it is done openly enough to get expert scrutiny from a vsariety of perspectives.


A system that relies on Google to enforce the privacy rights of citizens is a system that has already failed.


The government might have good intent, but this is how totalitarian regimes begin: through a steady erosion of rights and choice.

The taste of totalitarian power is known to be severely addictive that degenerates progressively. It is like a lion that tastes human flesh, turns into maneater and cannot go back.

Edit: spell fix


This is seriously bad news and it will continue to unfold around the world until you can't take a piss behind a bush without the government knowing (it's happening back home in Australia too). The Australian PM stated [1] that further reopening is contingent on more installations of the contact tracing app. There are undoubtedly some within governments who see this is a wholly beneficent solution but getting this system in is a foot in the door to the ultimately authoritarian goal of surveillance nirvana. Within every government exists groups of people whose job is to dream up systems like this. One more giant bite out of the elephant that is privacy.

Will it be abused? Even if governments had a perfect track record of respecting privacy and the stated intentions of technology it would still be cause for concern. But they don't... governments [1] and companies [2] have almost programmatically abused and overstepped because it's possible, profitable (economically and politically) and rarely if ever any consequence.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/01/morrison-says-... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(surveillance_program) [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook%E2%80%93Cambridge_Ana...


A fish which finds the ocean not habitable, either moves to different waters or evolves to filter out the surrounding.

It does not try to change nature of the ocean.


1. If the data is collected anonymously, why is the mobile number required?

2. What if an employee has only a feature phone, not a smartphone?


1. It's not anonymous in any way, just some bullshit marketing speak.

2. These mfers are building the app for feature phones as well. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/aarogya-s...


"1. It's not anonymous in any way, just some bullshit marketing speak. " Source ?


What source do you want? The app literally asks for your phone number, name, profession. Which of these details make you think "anonymous" has any meaning at all.


There are 2 different aspects of privacy in Contact Tracing technology. One is regarding device-to-device contact and another is device to cloud. In case of device to device, there's no knowledge if it shares your personal info to other phones.

If a person is found COVID positive, all the traced contacts will be under high-risk. In that case the details are sent to the cloud/governments to take apt precautions and to quarantine the individuals.

Even Apple/Google's contact tracing app send your personal data to the cloud and "works closely" with governments.

Source: https://www.apple.com/in/newsroom/2020/04/apple-and-google-p...


The difference being that in the Apple/Google implementation, the app only sends anonymous tokens, with nothing tying them to anyone the infected met. Then their contacts download the full list of these tokens from the cloud and match them against their local history of tokens. (Again, key part being that this matching happens locally, not in the cloud.) The government never gets involved except in allowing the infected to upload their (anonymous) history.


1. "Anonymously" - it's just a phone number, no names... /s

2. Employer buys a smartphone for employee to confirm to gov requirements.


3. Employee "forgets" phone in desk drawer/locker when going home every evening.


4. Employee convicted of not carrying their tracking device. Beatings continue until morale improves.


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