Europe has been stuck with a digital approach to contact tracing tied to Bluetooth. New Zealand has been using both Bluetooth and QR-codes for a while, and have had a few cases recently. The first of those was a dedicated app user, so she offered a real-life test case in a setting where we might learn quite a lot about the functioning of the app. Given that Switzerland cannot get itself out of the Bluetooth/SwissCovid mindset, I did a Freedom of Information request to the NZ health authority to learn more.
I attach the exchange first as screenshots (it reads…
In this article, we review a preprint which claims essentially that the digital contact tracing app SwissCovid works. That preprint has received some press coverage, certainly in Switzerland but also for instance in Nature. We therefore feel it is urgent to correct the record.
We re-analyze here the data and show that its main claim is not quite the reality. Instead, we show that the data says something different, and more profound. We think this is actually an important lesson, and a timely and hopeful message in this pandemic.
We also briefly discuss the main UK study on the NHS…
This is meant as a disclosure of a situation that might be confusing or carry a conflict of interest. Starting Tuesday October 20th 2020, I will be joining for two months the COVID-19 contact tracing team of the Geneva Canton (at 30% FTE). This might conflict with my position as Director of PersonalData.IO. I think things are fine, but as is best practice in those situations a first step is to be transparent, particularly since I have been so far extremely vocal on Twitter. I explain here the journey that led to this situation.
Digital technologies have vastly enhanced our capacities to interact with the world and each other. However these technologies also have many downsides. We focus here on the issue of maintaining trust in the digital world, as our online ecosystems evolve to include many more actors. We also discuss the importance of this trust during a crisis like COVID.
Recently, I collaborated with Finish investment fund SITRA on a research project titled On the trail of personal data. Both SITRA and I believe that digital technologies can vastly enhance our lives: they can increase convenience of existing services, of course, but…
Zeynep Tufekci just wrote a fantastic piece for The Atlantic on a statistical variable of high relevance to the COVID pandemic, and its implication for backward contact tracing.
Seriously, go read it.
I have been closely monitoring the literature on the topic since April, and curating it on Wikidata for a few weeks.
Ms Tufekci is well-known for her critique of social media, and its impact on various democratic processes, particularly disinformation dynamics.
Le 6 juillet, l’application SwissCovid a été reconfigurée. Dans ce bref article, j’explique ce changement, ses conséquences, et spécule sur ses motivations.
En termes techniques, le 6 juillet, les deux paramètres clés d’atténuation Bluetooth sont passés de (50 dB, 55 dB) à (53 dB, 60 db). Ceci est confirmé dans le document SwissCovid-ExposureScore.pdf (version 6 juillet 2020) mis à disposition par la Confédération sur le répertoire GitHub de l’administration. Il est utile de comparer ce document à sa version antérieure datée du 25 juin 2020.
Contact tracing apps intend to predict exposure to a COVID-19 infection, where exposure is computed as some function of time and distance to an infected person. The distance is inferred from Bluetooth signal strength, which is a step that has not been empirically tested properly. We review evidence coming from the developing teams of what might or might not work to deduce distance from Bluetooth signal strength, and eventually question whether this is truly the goal of all those who implement contact tracing apps.
The goal of COVID-19 contact tracing apps is to calculate a risk of infection, based on…
Have you been convinced in the past few days that digital contact tracing was just manual contact tracing, but automated? Well, it most definitely is not!
Anyone who thinks so needs to read The Illuminati Correspondence Fast Forward and try to reflect on what it means for a historian to have this view on a social network propagating viral material:
There are many such subtleties you will miss upon first, second and third look…
How is digital addiction enabled by surveillance capitalism? What is addiction? Maurizio Arseni, of OffGridMe.Life and MyData Geneva, shares with us his learnings from a Meetup in which PersonalData.IO participated.
Are addictive features inside digital products causing a public health problem? Is the attention economy’s model threatening our democracies and individuals’ freedom of choice? How can we measure, map and analyze the consequences of the attention economy on our society?
To answer these questions, MyData Geneva hosted an event about “Problematic Internet Use” on October 8th, 2019 at Espace 3DD, a space offered by the City of Geneva to organizations…
This post was written by Isabel Hahn as part of a short internship with us at PersonalData.IO.
Isabel is about to start her final year of LLB Law at the London School of Economics. She wants to work with organisations focusing on data protection and data rights, privacy, and cybersecurity.
This is Isabel’s second internship at PersonalData.IO. Last year she focused on data subjects’ rights as agents of change towards producing systematic transparency of the personal data ecosystem. In light of the recent Fashion ID judgement, it was thus natural to ask her to revisit that perspective.