While the delay to releasing the app is disappointing, it’s a chance to use behavioural science to optimise its design.
Contact tracing for sexual health has been taking place in England for many years. Why was this workforce ignored in the coronavirus response?
Maintaining social distancing is a challenge as workplaces reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
miodrag ignjatovic/E+ via Getty Images
Smartphone apps and wearable devices can tell when workers have been within six feet of each other, promising to help curb the coronavirus. But they're not all the same when it comes to privacy.
A robot dog called Spot patrols a Singapore park playing a recorded message telling people to observe physical distancing measures.
Smart city solutions have proved handy for curbing the contagion, but recent experience has also shown how much they rely on public trust. And that in turn depends on transparency and robust safeguards
COVIDSafe uses Bluetooth radio waves. These can only measure how physically close two people are, but not if those people are in the same room, or even in different cars passing each other.
Data privacy is a major concern but people seem willing to download the app.
Only 51% of survey participants said they supported linking the number of COVIDSafe app downloads with an easing of lockdown restrictions.
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A proposed fix to help the COVIDSafe app work on Apple phones may come with costs to public health and accountability.
Despite criticism, the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app seems well designed.
From conflicts with specialised medical devices, through to unresolved problems with iPhone functionality, COVIDSafe is in need of updates. A major one may come within the next few weeks.
A critical problem with the bill is it allows the federal government to collect much more personal data from COVIDSafe users than is necessary for contact tracing.
Apps that warn about close contact with COVID-19 cases are key to relaxing social distancing rules.
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Bluetooth wireless communication makes it possible for people to get alerts on their phones when they've been exposed to the coronavirus. Adding the right cryptography scheme keeps those alerts private.
Police in Bhopal, India use a drone to monitor adherence to lockdown measures.
Start-ups in India, many in Kerala, have taken up the challenge of finding innovative solutions to the problems raised by COVID-19.
One bespoke contact tracing device is a bluetooth 'pen' device, which can be handed in if diagnosed without relying on smartphones.
Behavioural economics has three key insights to encourage take-up of the contact-tracing app.
Technology exists that can verify if you've come into contact with an infected person without revealing your location or identity – governments just need to be willing to use it.
While preliminary tests indicate user data isn't being sent to the government, a publicly-available source code is needed to ensure the app's transparency.