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.
"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."
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.
And this was as early as 26 of march, so I bet it continued being significant.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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
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.
Epidemiologists have predicted a global pandemic would happen sooner or later , 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.
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.
This is the US - we don't do any of those.
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.
Cell tower triangulation?
Practically useless unless you are willing impose a strict curfew within a one mile radius
- 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.
Source: Aarogya Setu Registration Will be Mandatory to Setup New Phone: Govt Sources
And does this mean that android permissions no longer work? What if people just make location and gps unavailable to the app after installation?
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.
That's abhorrent on a number of levels. Almost certainly won't work either.
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.
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.
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.
The police can't arrest all of us.
Thank you. Unfortunately this is a heated / political issue now, it's going to take a long time to restart the economy.
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.
- a mobile phone number
- location and bluetooth, always on
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 :
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.
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 again I like to think I’m pretty patient but I am nowhere near as patient as you are.
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 mention 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.
HN is full-stop better than it was.
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 in life. On the plus side, one gains appreciation for Samuel Beckett as a spiritual teacher.
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.
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.
Some good threads to start with might be https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21607844 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22902490.
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.
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.
Wait, what ?
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.
Please support that claim with evidence. This seems ill-informed or malice-driven.
Which is to say, the granted permissions seems surprisingly restrained...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
From Bill Gates notes :
"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 :
> 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.
Look we get the anti-big-tech angst but when it starts ignoring on-ground facts it just sounds like angry rambling.
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?
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 ?
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.
> 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 ?
- 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.
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.
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" ?
Judges can still make money via plain old corruption, incase you didnt know Indian judicial system is pretty corrupt.
What is your solution?
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
I am sure the devil is in the details, but its easier to slam the govt doing anything.
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.
> 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)
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.
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?
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.
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.
>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?
A minor nitpick. It’s “leaks”, not leak. There have been many over the years.
No system is 100% secure, and talking about it like that makes them look like clowns.
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"
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.
> 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?
^This in addition with rumors spread among these sections,
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.
> 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.
For examples has Nokia releases a protocol?
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?)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Make India a British colony again as of today? Seriously, do you think Gandhi would approve of this app?
If people need a translation: "Why did you fight for independence if you throw your freedoms away now?"
> FYI the law enforcement, legal system is a complete joke in India.
That's just garbage.
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:
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.
> 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)
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...
> • 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.
Also, have a read:
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.
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.
>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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Gimmicky apps might be sufficient to pitch VCs but actual effectiveness against an epidemic is obviously different and requires government leadership.
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.
The cultural pressure cooker is also there and the rat race comes after.
> will the government provide free devices to everyone?
Free and subdermal. /s
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
"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"
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...
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.
That is 1913 days of deaths by starvation at the rate you specify.
Five and a quarter years.
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 “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?
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 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.
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?
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.
No need to worry about me getting scam calls, I don't have a phone.
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.
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%?
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).
> 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.
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.
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
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  and companies  have almost programmatically abused and overstepped because it's possible, profitable (economically and politically) and rarely if ever any consequence.
It does not try to change nature of the ocean.
2. What if an employee has only a feature phone, not a smartphone?
2. These mfers are building the app for feature phones as well. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/aarogya-s...
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.
2. Employer buys a smartphone for employee to confirm to gov requirements.