Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Distributed Data Model Wins Out in the UK for Tracking COVID19

The UK government will abandon its centralized COVID-19 contact-tracing smartphone app in favor of the distributed system proposed by Apple and Google more than two months ago. This decision follows that the app, once said to be a key part of the government's test-and-trace system, would not be ready until at least winter this year.

The idea is that a user runs one of these apps on their phone, and the software uses the Apple-Google-developed interface to communicate with copies of itself on other people's nearby devices over Bluetooth. When someone declares, via the app, that they may have likely or certainly caught the COVID-19 disease, all phones that have been in the vicinity of that person's mobile will find out, alerting their owners that they may have been exposed to the virus. Each country or region is expected to have its own app. No data goes to Apple or Google. The numbers of people coming in contact with those thought or confirmed to be infected may help experts monitor and analyze the actual spread of the virus.

In related news, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has offered to roll out the German Corona-Warn-App in the UK in a short time at "zero cost to the taxpayers". "If the government can't pull themselves together, we can," via a tweet.

Read more at the BBC...

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