Open Contact Tracing

I was interested to see in the news this week   that Ireland’s Covid-19 contact tracing app has been released and is now available for download. According to the HSE it has been downloaded over a million times in the last few days. I haven’t downloaded it myself (yet) but I probably will.

One of the interesting things about this app is that it cost €850,000 (which is about £760K at today’s exchange rate). The UK’s attempt to produce a similar bit of software has so far cost over £11M for an app that doesn’t exist. It seems a rather similar situation to the £50M paid for ferries that didn’t exist.

“Where has that money gone?”, I hear you ask. The answer is “I don’t know”, but it’s probably been pocketed by friends of Mr Cummings.

But UK residents needn’t fear. Not only is the Irish Covid-19 tracker app free to download and I’m told it also works on the other side of the Irish Sea. Not only that, but  the source code is also freely available on Github.

This app does of course raise genuine concerns about data protection, though perhaps not as great as it would if the data was being handed to friends of Mr Cummings. I was amused yesterday however to see usual conspiracy theorists expressing their fears about what would happen to their data if they downloaded the app on – of all places – Facebook.

 

2 Responses to “Open Contact Tracing”

  1. Phillip Helbig Says:

    Note BoJo directly denying a testable, factual, and true claim.

    As far as I know, the German app should work elsewhere, but I’m no expert. (It won’t work on my Nokia 3310, and there is little point of putting it on my iPad as I usually don’t carry that with me. It came out later than many people would have liked, but the main reason for that was to make sure that various data-protection laws are followed.

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