In a major U-turn, the UK is ditching the way its current COVID-19 contact-tracing app works and shifting to a model based on technology provided by Apple and Google.
The move comes the day after the BBC revealed that a former Apple executive, Simon Thompson, was taking charge of the late-running project.
The Apple-Google design has been promoted as being more privacy-focused.
However, it means epidemiologists will have access to less data.
And questions remain about whether any smartphone-based system reliant on Bluetooth signals will be accurate enough to be useful.
The UK follows Germany, Italy and Denmark among others in switching from a so-called “centralised” approach to a “decentralised” one.
MacDailyNews Take: To quote Camp Northstar’s head counselor Tripper, “It just doesn’t matter!” But, knock yourselves out, countries of the world, such pacifier apps might help some people in need of a bit of added confidence to go about their business.
Once again, centralized or decentralized, the whole thing is pie-in-the-sky piffle.
Even if you forwent the smartphones (1 in 5 people don’t even have a smartphone in the U.S., for example; 1 in 6 in the U.K.) and instead sent a dedicated contact-tracing bracelet to every single person in the country, you’d still be stuck with widespread non-compliance, inability to force compliance in many countries, non-charged / forgotten / lost bracelets, Bluetooth issues, false positives, etc., etc., etc.
Contact tracing / exposure notification apps are nothing more than pablum for the masses. It’s simply a case of governments wanting to be able to tell citizens, “Want to feel safe while getting back to work, shopping, going out to eat, vacationing, etc.? There’s an app for that.”
“Don’t worry. Be happy. Download this app and go about your business.”
Might these apps help in some cases to get the relatively few people who will use them to seek testing or self-quarantine if/when the alarm goes off? Of course. But, overall, these apps are little more than security blankets for the citizenry to clutch on their way to herd immunity and, for governments that use a centralized system, to track the spread of infections on the way to herd immunity.