We arrived in the Phase 2 but we are still waiting for the tracking app that should help to contain the spreading of the virus. Meanwhile waiting that Immuni will be available for the download, there is who doubts about the really utility of this kind of app, let’s find out why.
The tracing apps
We talked about Alypay Health Code and Corona 100, two applications that helped the China to quickly escape from the most critical phase. These applications told to the people if they were able to go out or not, by generating a qr-code red, yellow or green. The green one once scanned opened the doors of offices, shops and so on. These apps allowed that there wasn’t a return of the infections which were finally dropped.
The basic idea is that if everyone will use it it’s possible to contain the virus without stop the whole country. This though at the expence of the privacy. Aplypay Health Code infact is focused on the usage of the geolocalization datas the ones that are used by Google to give you the precise position and to drive you with the satnav.
Same thing in South Corea, the app though changes its name: Corona 100m. Even in this case the usage of the geolocalization datas, more the informations put by the user, allows to have a precise state of play about who was in contact with each other and how many possibilities there are to have the virus or not.
But we are talking about China and South Corea, countries that have a whole different lifestyle. Very far from what we are used to. Infact about the European app they have as main element the thing that it doesn’t have to use the Gps.
This mainly to not damage too much the privacy, another element it’s that we aren’t forced to use the app, how it was instead in China and South Corea: if you don’t have the app you can’t go anywhere.
The study about the tracking apps
The idea to use an app which keeps track of the movements and of the people that we met is what we need at least for the period during which we won’t have an efficient vaccine.
The tracking apps or contact tracing can use many technology: Gps or Bluetooth. A study of the University of Oxford though claims that it might be not very efficient for many reasons.
First of all in order to make the app really reliable it must be used at least by the 56% of the population. Which means, excluding children and people that anyway won’t move from home, that it must be installed on the 80% of the smartphones.
A very utopian percentage, especially considering that here it isn’t mandatory. But besides this the other problem is that by using the Bluetooth and not the Gps the position sign isn’t very precise.
Infact the Bluetooth has the “defect” to have an action range that goes over the meter of distance, arriving to up to 10 meters. This distances joined with the characteristic that it goes through the walls, means that if a person passes in front of the house of a person in quarantine for covid, will result at risk.
So the worse risk of an app that uses the technology Bluetooth is that it will create a lot of fake positives.
Another doubts is about the vulnerability of the system. Infact the protocol Bluetooth isn’t between the safer ones, especially if we talk about old phones or not upgraded. Having constantly opened this channel can allow some hackers to steal personal informations.
This post is also available in: Italiano