Contact Tracing Apps: A Road Map to Next Generation Methods

October 30, 2020

I read “Why Contact-Tracing Apps Haven’t Lived Up to Expectations.” The article explains that the idea of using a mobile phone and some software to figure out who has been exposed to Covid is not exactly a home run. The reasons range from people not trusting the app or the authorities pushing the app, crappy technology, and an implicit message that some humans don’t bother due to being human: Sloth, gluttony, etc.

The write up appears to overlook the lessons which have been learned from contact tracing applications.

  1. The tracers have to be baked into the devices
  2. The software has to be undetectable
  3. The operation has to be secure
  4. The monitoring has to be 24×7 unless the phone is destroyed or the power source cut off.

These lessons are not lost on some government officials.

What’s this mean? For some mobile phone operations, the insertion of tracers is chugging right along. Other countries may balk, but the trajectory of disease and other social activities indicated that these “beacon” and “transmit” functions are of considerable interest in certain circles.

Stephen E Arnold, October 30, 2020


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