UK switching to Apple/Google system for COVID-19 exposure notification

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
The United Kingdom has reportedly abandoned its controversial, and delayed, coronavirus app in favor of a new version that will be based on the technology developed by Apple and Google.

The rollout of the U.K. contact tracing app has been beset by confusion. Credit: AFP
The rollout of the U.K. contact tracing app has been beset by confusion. Credit: AFP


The UK's initial rejection of Apple and Google's coronavirus exposure notification technology proved controversial, with concerns about privacy plus poor performance in testing. The BBC is now reporting that the existing project plan has been scraped, and a new app based on the Apple/Google system will be implemented.

According to the BBC, the user interface will remain the same as seen in trial versions, but the new app will leverage the more privacy-minded technology.

It is also reported that the original leads on the project have been replaced by Simon Thompson, who previously worked on Apple's online Store in 2011.

However, the UK government is walking back both the importance of the app, and the significance of its continued delays. While the app had been planned to be in use nationwide by June, the government is no longer specifying dates.

"We are seeking to get something going for the winter," Lord Bethell, Minister for Information at the Department of Health and Social Care, told the BBC. "But it isn't the priority for us at the moment."

Bethell added that his response was "an expectation of management answer," which essentially means that there is no timetable that he is willing to share. He did, though, insist that the delayed trials of the original app had "gone very well indeed."

The UK's reversal follows a similar one by Germany, although that country has now launched its national app.

Originally, the UK plan was to use its own system which would transmit data to a central location, as opposed to the Apple/Google technology which keeps the information on-device. The UK required users to actively run the app, while Apple/Google's system would work automatically.

Then in trials, the UK's app failed to work with older phones, and reportedly drained batteries in others. It was also found to not work in confined areas such as residential tower blocks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member
    What a bunch of muppets. 

    viclauyycPetrolDavewatto_cobraols
  • Reply 2 of 27
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 730member
    Hahaha. So we will let it silently die when we can not track citizens. Who cares about wasted millions.... lol Corona will disappear even without it or before we will finish it....
  • Reply 3 of 27
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,076member
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    PetrolDavewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.
    pontavignonGeorgeBMacStrangeDaysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 27
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.

    The Prime Minister was very nearly one of those deaths.    You would think he would know better than to play games with this scurge.
    StrangeDaysRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 27
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 295member
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.

    The Prime Minister was very nearly one of those deaths.    You would think he would know better than to play games with this scurge.
    I would think no such thing of the PM.  He's barely better than the orange monster we are currently stuck with.
    edited June 2020 viclauyycGeorgeBMacRayz2016muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 27
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,340member
    elijahg said:
    The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    Oops, somebody just outed themselves ...
    GeorgeBMacRayz2016bobbob00watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 27
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,076member
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.
    I wondered if anyone would get triggered by me calling it "Wuhan".
     
    Actually, coronaviruses have racked up millions of infections in recent years. Remember SARS and Bird Flu? COVID-19 is the scientific name, which likely had 2 million infected at one point, so down to 0.05% of the peak is pretty close to barely existing. But sorry for not falling for Xi Jingping's disinformation campaign to try and disassociate China from the virus. I don't like cover-ups, especailly from a regime as hideous as the CCP. Were you one of the people behind Wikipedia's attempt to rename Spanish flu too because it might offend someone?
    chasm said:
    elijahg said:
    The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    Oops, somebody just outed themselves ...

    The only "outing" is that you and Rayz2016 would rather be politically correct than correctly attribute blame to a country and its regime for its coverup, failed containment and faked numbers.
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 9 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member
    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.
    I wondered if anyone would get triggered by me calling it "Wuhan".
     
    Actually, coronaviruses have racked up millions of infections in recent years. Remember SARS and Bird Flu? COVID-19 is the scientific name, which likely had 2 million infected at one point, so down to 0.05% of the peak is pretty close to barely existing. But sorry for not falling for Xi Jingping's disinformation campaign to try and disassociate China from the virus. I don't like cover-ups, especailly from a regime as hideous as the CCP. Were you one of the people behind Wikipedia's attempt to rename Spanish flu too because it might offend someone?
    chasm said:
    elijahg said:
    The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    Oops, somebody just outed themselves ...

    The only "outing" is that you and Rayz2016 would rather be politically correct than correctly attribute blame to a country and its regime for its coverup, failed containment and faked numbers.

    Yup, you outed yourself, and now you're trying to hide behind that old  "triggered" trope.  Next time, read through before you post, then you won't have to try to convince people you did it deliberately.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member

    chasm said:
    elijahg said:
    The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    Oops, somebody just outed themselves ...
    I'd have more respect for these people if they just admitted their racial biases, rather than just try to hide it by quoting stuff they've heard from braver people with racial biases.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member

    bonobob said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.

    The Prime Minister was very nearly one of those deaths.    You would think he would know better than to play games with this scurge.
    I would think no such thing of the PM.  He's barely better than the orange monster we are currently stuck with.
    That is a tough call. I couldn't pick between them to be honest. At least Trump makes me laugh occasionally.
    GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 27
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.
    I wondered if anyone would get triggered by me calling it "Wuhan".
     
    Actually, coronaviruses have racked up millions of infections in recent years. Remember SARS and Bird Flu? COVID-19 is the scientific name, which likely had 2 million infected at one point, so down to 0.05% of the peak is pretty close to barely existing. But sorry for not falling for Xi Jingping's disinformation campaign to try and disassociate China from the virus. I don't like cover-ups, especailly from a regime as hideous as the CCP. Were you one of the people behind Wikipedia's attempt to rename Spanish flu too because it might offend someone?
    chasm said:
    elijahg said:
    The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    Oops, somebody just outed themselves ...

    The only "outing" is that you and Rayz2016 would rather be politically correct than correctly attribute blame to a country and its regime for its coverup, failed containment and faked numbers.

    What coverup?
    Are you talking about Trump's distraction from his own negligence, incompetence and corruption?   Doing what he always does:  trash talk to make somebody else look even worse than he is?   That so called "coverup"?  I feel sorry for those gullible enough to believe such nonsense.

    "Coverup"?   Hardly -- they called in the WHO at an early stage and released all data to them
    "Failed Containment"? LOL.... Hardly -- it is the U.S. who failed to contain it, not China.    There it is not only under control but has been for a month or two.
    "Faked Numbers"?   Only if you believe the man of 18,000+ lies.   The one who suppressed testing to keep his numbers down.
    edited June 2020 Rayz2016
  • Reply 13 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member
    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    elijahg said:
    So this was supposed to be out in mid-May, then June 1st, and now it's mid-June and they're switching. Great job, about as well organised as every other NHS IT project. The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    The Wuhan never existed here.

    The Corona virus, however, racked up 1200 new infections today, and 135 deaths.

    We have different definitions of 'barely existing'.
    I wondered if anyone would get triggered by me calling it "Wuhan".
     
    Actually, coronaviruses have racked up millions of infections in recent years. Remember SARS and Bird Flu? COVID-19 is the scientific name, which likely had 2 million infected at one point, so down to 0.05% of the peak is pretty close to barely existing. But sorry for not falling for Xi Jingping's disinformation campaign to try and disassociate China from the virus. I don't like cover-ups, especailly from a regime as hideous as the CCP. Were you one of the people behind Wikipedia's attempt to rename Spanish flu too because it might offend someone?
    chasm said:
    elijahg said:
    The Wuhan barely exists here anymore so there's little point anymore anyway.
    Oops, somebody just outed themselves ...

    The only "outing" is that you and Rayz2016 would rather be politically correct than correctly attribute blame to a country and its regime for its coverup, failed containment and faked numbers.

    What coverup?
    Are you talking about Trump's distraction from his own negligence, incompetence and corruption?   Doing what he always does:  trash talk to make somebody else look even worse than he is?   That so called "coverup"?  I feel sorry for those gullible enough to believe such nonsense.

    "Coverup"?   Hardly -- they called in the WHO at an early stage and released all data to them
    "Failed Containment"? LOL.... Hardly -- it is the U.S. who failed to contain it, not China.    There it is not only under control but has been for a month or two.
    "Faked Numbers"?   Only if you believe the man of 18,000+ lies.   The one who suppressed testing to keep his numbers down.

    Triggered

    Definition:

    An expression used as a hiding place for someone who gets called out on their bullsh*t

    "Faked Numbers"?   Only if you believe the man of 18,000+ lies.   The one who suppressed testing to keep his numbers down.


    "If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any"

    https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/502819-trump-on-coronavirus-if-we-stop-testing-right-now-wed-have-very-few-cases

    Like I said, at least he's funny.

    But what's funnier is how dumb ihs supporters are prepared to make themselves look when they try to twist this nonsense l into something they hope will fool people as the truth.

    Let's see: 18000 lies since his inauguration.

    That's like 14 lies a day … damn. 

    I think my favourite was when he got that doctor to tell people he was the healthiest individual to ever take office.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43970908

    I mean, look at him! Who's going to believe that?


    edited June 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,638member
    That's the first I've heard that the Apple API has some distance limitations.  
  • Reply 15 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,828member
    crowley said:
    That's the first I've heard that the Apple API has some distance limitations.  
    Yes, it's designed to trigger within a certain short range and only if the contact is of a certain amount of time as I understand it. Simply passing by someone shouldn't trigger it, but stopping or traveling together should. 
  • Reply 16 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,638member
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    That's the first I've heard that the Apple API has some distance limitations.  
    Yes, it's designed to trigger within a certain short range and only if the contact is of a certain amount of time as I understand it. Simply passing by someone shouldn't trigger it, but stopping or traveling together should. 
    Is that right though?  Seems like contact tracing should be more thorough that that to be effective.  
  • Reply 17 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,828member
    crowley said:
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    That's the first I've heard that the Apple API has some distance limitations.  
    Yes, it's designed to trigger within a certain short range and only if the contact is of a certain amount of time as I understand it. Simply passing by someone shouldn't trigger it, but stopping or traveling together should. 
    Is that right though?  Seems like contact tracing should be more thorough that that to be effective.  
    Thorough in what way without collecting personal information?

    That's what's killing the Australian contact tracing app built with a Singapore backbone, it needs names, ages (range), postcode and your linked phone number. So while millions rushed to download it, when it came to opting in/using it then it became "not so much". In the first month it was offered it found just a single case. One. Obviously requiring personally identifiable data and location isn't working. FWIW even the relative police state of Singapore is seeing very low acceptance of their TraceTogether protocol and is considering a switch to the less threatening and less intrusive Apple/Google API for Covid infection discovery and notification. 

    In an authoritative country like China citizens are not given much choice, they will comply or face consequences. Citizens in countries accustomed to more personal freedoms would tend to shy away from more government intrusion, ignoring of course that national laws in most Western countries would prevent anything remotely similar to a China-style tracking and control of citizens. Some very loud members here don't understand that. 

    Now if you meant Apple and google should have designed the required partner app themselves rather than leaving it up to a mishmash from various medical and government agencies I would personally say absolutely. We would already be well down the path of better controlling the spread of Covid-19 simply by using our smartphones in the same manner we've been accustomed to and without fear of what our governments might do with the information collection down the road.

    Google and Apple could have rolled out one single app to their users, vetted and with privacy guaranteed. I believe that's what they should have done. 
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 18 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,638member
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    That's the first I've heard that the Apple API has some distance limitations.  
    Yes, it's designed to trigger within a certain short range and only if the contact is of a certain amount of time as I understand it. Simply passing by someone shouldn't trigger it, but stopping or traveling together should. 
    Is that right though?  Seems like contact tracing should be more thorough that that to be effective.  
    Thorough in what way without collecting personal information?

    That's what's killing the Australian contact tracing app built with a Singapore backbone, it needs names, ages (range), postcode and your linked phone number. 
    Not at all, I'm just saying that the short range and the time requirement seems like a higher bar than I would expect a contact tracing app to implement; I'd expect any detected contact where there's any chance of transmission.  Nothing to do with personal information at all, though I suppose you could qualify the contact with a danger rating based on proximity and time spent close by, if that doesn't stray into the realm of personal data.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,828member
    crowley said:
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    That's the first I've heard that the Apple API has some distance limitations.  
    Yes, it's designed to trigger within a certain short range and only if the contact is of a certain amount of time as I understand it. Simply passing by someone shouldn't trigger it, but stopping or traveling together should. 
    Is that right though?  Seems like contact tracing should be more thorough that that to be effective.  
    Thorough in what way without collecting personal information?

    That's what's killing the Australian contact tracing app built with a Singapore backbone, it needs names, ages (range), postcode and your linked phone number. 
    Not at all, I'm just saying that the short range and the time requirement seems like a higher bar than I would expect a contact tracing app to implement; I'd expect any detected contact where there's any chance of transmission.  
    That's what the proximity and time limitations are intended to do. Passing a person on the street going the other way is exceptionally unlikely to expose you. Neither is a bicycle rider passing you going south while you're out running north, or the person entering a restaurant as you walk out. Stopping to chat with any of them might as would sharing a table or sitting next to them in the movies, or talking with a co-worker at the door, and those are contacts the Apple/Google API would register.
    edited June 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,638member
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    gatorguy said:
    crowley said:
    That's the first I've heard that the Apple API has some distance limitations.  
    Yes, it's designed to trigger within a certain short range and only if the contact is of a certain amount of time as I understand it. Simply passing by someone shouldn't trigger it, but stopping or traveling together should. 
    Is that right though?  Seems like contact tracing should be more thorough that that to be effective.  
    Thorough in what way without collecting personal information?

    That's what's killing the Australian contact tracing app built with a Singapore backbone, it needs names, ages (range), postcode and your linked phone number. 
    Not at all, I'm just saying that the short range and the time requirement seems like a higher bar than I would expect a contact tracing app to implement; I'd expect any detected contact where there's any chance of transmission.  
    That's what the proximity and time limitations are intended to do. Passing a person on the street going the other way is exceptionally unlikely to expose you. Neither is a bicycle rider passing you going south while you're out running north, or the person entering a restaurant as you walk out. Stopping to chat with any of them might as would sharing a table or sitting next to them in the movies, or talking with a co-worker at the door, and those are contacts the Apple/Google API would register.
    Maybe, though from the sounds of it the NHS aren’t so impressed with it.
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