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Comment: With hindsight, Apple and Google should have created contact tracing apps - 9to5Mac
Apple and Google created a coronavirus contact tracing API to help governments create their own apps – but an initial report suggests that take-up hasn’t been high. Just 22 countries and a handful of US states have so far requested access, and a subsequent iO…
Apple and Google created a coronavirus contact tracing API to help governments create their own apps but an initial report suggests that take-up hasn’t been high. Just 22 countries and a handful of US states have so far requested access, and a subsequent iOS and Android update to allow contact tracing to work without an app appears to be some months away. Some countries have created contact tracing apps that involve huge infringements of privacy. The one used in South Korea, for example, collects surname, sex, year of birth, residential district, profession, travel history, and more. China’s app is linked to a unique government ID, identifying specific individuals. Many countries still haven’t managed to release a contact tracing app at all … The US government has delegated contact tracing to individual states, few of which appear to have made much progress. Most European countries are still working on their apps, with the UK admitting that its own app which ignores all of the available privacy standards won’t be ready on time. In short, it’s a mess. The world has never had a more urgent need for an app to be developed swiftly and securely, and governments have almost universally demonstrated themselves not up to the task. I should stress that I fully understand why Apple and Google went the route they did. They recognized that they had the technical capabilities to act quickly, but at the same time they didn’t want to be seen to be usurping the role of governments. They took what, at the time, seemed an extremely sensible compromise approach: created an API, made it available to any government that wanted it, and even produced sample code that would allow any nation to create its own app with the minimum of effort. They basically did 99% of the job, and waited for governments to do the other 1%. What should have then happened was for governments to say yes please, and to release apps the moment the API was available. That, however, hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen. We’ve had conflicting standards proposals. We’ve had long-winded debates. We’ve had white papers. We’ve had promises. What we haven’t had are contact tracing apps. With the benefit of hindsight, this should have been obvious. Government IT projects typically take years, when what we needed was something available within weeks. What Apple and Google really should have done was create their own apps, and just make localized versions available in each country. Yes, that would still have required some level of government cooperation. To guard against hoaxes people claiming they have been tested positive when they haven’t we would still need government health services to validate the codes issued to those who’ve had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. But Apple and Google could even have offered to host the necessary backend software on their own servers, so all hospitals had to do was upload the codes. A single app each for iOS and Android, which Apple and Google could either have heavily promoted or even pushed to phones, would have seen far greater take-up than we’re ever likely to see for the random array of individual government apps. It would have seemed presumptuous at the time. It would have risked some governments taking offence. But, honestly, the chances are that this approach would have been far more successful than the mess we have now. That’s my view; what’s yours? Do you agree that, with the benefit of hindsight, official Apple and Google apps would have been the way to go? Or do you think that government apps are the better approach? Please take our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments. Image: Matthew Roberts FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
Apple shares new video highlighting how to use iPad with Magic Keyboard and other trackpads - 9to5Mac
Apple has just shared a new video to its official Apple Support YouTube channel showing how to use an iPad with the new Magic Keyboard and other trackpads, highlighting some available gestures and settings. The video demonstrates how the advanced cursor featu…
Apple has just shared a new video to its official Apple Support YouTube channel showing how to use an iPad with the new Magic Keyboard and other trackpads, highlighting some available gestures and settings. The video demonstrates how the advanced cursor feature works on iPadOS 13.4, which appears when you’re using it and disappears as soon as you stop touching the trackpad. It shows that users can slide up with three fingers to open the App Switcher, slide to the right corner of the screen to see the Slide Over apps, and more. Connect a compatible trackpad to your iPad and learn more about gestures, navigation, and settings. The video also explains how to change the cursor settings on iPadOS, which appear in the Settings app when a mouse or trackpad is connected to the iPad. It’s important to note that while the video shows an iPad with the Magic Keyboard, users can reproduce the same gestures with a Magic Trackpad 2 or third-party accessories compatible with iPadOS 13.4, such as the Logitech Combo Touch Keyboard Case with Trackpad. Don’t forget to check out our video with 50 trackpad & mouse tips for iPad users in iPadOS 13.4. FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: