• Jul 2, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming,

After exaggerated claims about their importance, here’s the reality of contact tracing apps

Back in February, this blog was one of the first to warn that the obvious technological response to the coronavirus – the use of contact tracing apps – raised important privacy questions. Since then, both the apps and their implications have been the subject of debate around the world. That’s particularly the case for the … Continue reading “After exaggerated claims about their importance, here’s the reality of contact tracing apps”

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  • Jun 5, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming, Security,

Time to embrace federated analytics – it’s no privacy panacea, but probably the closest we will get to one for many situations

A couple of weeks ago, a post on this blog explained how the OpenSAFELY project allowed trusted analysts to run large-scale computation across live pseudonymized patient records inside the data centre of the electronic health records software company. At a time when the world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, that’s a hugely important task, … Continue reading “Time to embrace federated analytics – it’s no privacy panacea, but probably the closest we will get to one for many situations”

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  • May 23, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming,

OpenSAFELY: more proof that tackling the coronavirus pandemic does not require privacy to be compromised

In recent weeks, there has been an intense focus on the use of contact tracing apps as a way to emerge safely from the lockdowns that are in place around the world. A key question is whether to use a centralized or de-centralized architecture. After some division, the balance has firmly swung towards the latter, … Continue reading “OpenSAFELY: more proof that tackling the coronavirus pandemic does not require privacy to be compromised”

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  • May 6, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming,

Growing storm over UK’s coronavirus tracing app shows how not to do it

As this blog noted a couple of weeks ago, many governments around the world are looking to introduce coronavirus tracing apps to help take their countries out of lockdown. The hope is that such apps can be used by millions of people to pinpoint potential new cases of Covid-19 so that medical interventions can be … Continue reading “Growing storm over UK’s coronavirus tracing app shows how not to do it”

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How to avoid Coronavirus scam websites, calls, and texts

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best – and worst – in human society. While people around the world have come together in solidarity to try and flatten the curve and front line essential workers are still keeping everyone fed, the scammers of the world have taken this as a golden opportunity to try … Continue reading “How to avoid Coronavirus scam websites, calls, and texts”

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  • Apr 23, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming,

What’s the best approach for building Bluetooth-based tracing apps as a way out of the pandemic lockdowns?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, governments around the world are desperately trying to find a way to ease current lockdowns without triggering massive new waves of infection by Covid-19. There is a wide consensus that one promising element of any plan is the use of tracing apps. As this blog wrote back in March, the … Continue reading “What’s the best approach for building Bluetooth-based tracing apps as a way out of the pandemic lockdowns?”

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  • Apr 15, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming,

Open source, open science: the coronavirus crisis is when openness comes into its own

Open source figures frequently on this blog. That’s in part because Private Internet Access is a long-time supporter of free software, and is in the process of open-sourcing its own software. But more generally, privacy is deeply bound up with open source, for reasons a recent post explained. The importance of open source in the … Continue reading “Open source, open science: the coronavirus crisis is when openness comes into its own”

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  • Apr 8, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, Networking, News, Privacy, Security,

OK Zoomer: avoiding a privacy disaster in the post-coronavirus world

It would be an understatement to say that Covid-19 has affected practically every aspect of our lives, given the scale of the transformation. Its impact on privacy, too, is evident. Last week, this blog wrote about a rush by governments around the world to use smartphones to help enforce quarantines and carry out contact tracing. … Continue reading “OK Zoomer: avoiding a privacy disaster in the post-coronavirus world”

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  • Apr 1, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy,

How can we protect privacy during a crisis like Covid-19, when “health surveillance” is on the rise around the world?

A couple of weeks ago, this blog looked at the use of smartphones to track people so that contact tracing can be carried out to slow the spread of Covid-19. Two weeks is a long time in a pandemic. Soon after, it emerged that many countries were going further, and using smartphone location to check … Continue reading “How can we protect privacy during a crisis like Covid-19, when “health surveillance” is on the rise around the world?”

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  • Mar 19, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming,

As Covid-19 spreads around the globe, so does the idea of using smartphones to track everyone to help contact tracing

It seems extraordinary that it was only a month ago that this blog wrote about the new coronavirus, also called Covid-19. At that time, it was not yet clear whether it would turn into a full-blown pandemic. Now, there is no doubt on the matter. As that blog post reported, Covid-19 began in China, and … Continue reading “As Covid-19 spreads around the globe, so does the idea of using smartphones to track everyone to help contact tracing”

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  • Feb 21, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Freedom of speech, surveillance and privacy in the time of coronavirus

The situation concerning the Covid-19 coronavirus is serious, although it is not yet clear whether it will develop into a pandemic affecting billions of people worldwide. The story so far touches on most of the central themes of this blog. For example, we know that the Chinese authorities wasted valuable time trying to suppress news … Continue reading “Freedom of speech, surveillance and privacy in the time of coronavirus”

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