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Thread: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

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    UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Deploying a go-it-alone contact tracing app might be too risky a strategy.
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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    holy shoot, is there any government IT project that actually works? They're back pedalling because of the reported security holes and thankfully some MPs/Lords are not just rolling over and saying "ok then". That and who would have thought that it might be more complicated to get working smoothly than they first thought? It's almost like the MPs making these decisions have never tried writing some software of their own... Anyone who's had to debug will surely understand far quicker than someone who never has.

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Having had a peek at the source last month, this surprises me not one single jot. Putting arch techno-fool Matt Hancock in overall charge of a significant IT project was always going to end in tears.

    By the time a usable (i.e. rewritten, DP-3T based) iteration of the app is ready, the need for it will most likely have passed.
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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    It's almost like the MPs making these decisions have never tried writing some software of their own... Anyone who's had to debug will surely understand far quicker than someone who never has.
    There are one or two MPs with experience in software/hardware development. A couple of Lords too. However, Hancock isn't among them, and, joking about his ineptitude aside, there are a lot of reasons why the current version of the app is such a misfire - some of them quite nuanced and borne out of a wish to do good things. However the project management has been abysmal. Among other things, no attempt to weigh up the usual public service organisation's determination to get a gold-plated solution with the need to have the thing out, working, trusted and on people's devices.

    In fairness though, quite a few other countries have screwed up in this area. And even the South Korean system, lauded in many places as a standard to aim at, has actually not been anywhere near as successful as some of its supporters would like to admit.
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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    I'm under the impression little Matty Hancock is being fattened up for the chop.

    Wasn't servio(?) Or whatever the services company is called just given another 100 million to continue the app? The CEO funnily enough has a brother in government. There are also concerns over the data which will be held on record.

    This should have been ready months ago. With the heads down \ plough on approach to reopening the country; the infrastructure is not there to do it safely. R is supposed to be around 1, we are status 4 (as laid out in the roadmap) and they are talking about reducing social distancing.

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Domestic_Ginger View Post
    I'm under the impression little Matty Hancock is being fattened up for the chop.

    Wasn't servio(?) Or whatever the services company is called just given another 100 million to continue the app? The CEO funnily enough has a brother in government. There are also concerns over the data which will be held on record.

    This should have been ready months ago. With the heads down \ plough on approach to reopening the country; the infrastructure is not there to do it safely. R is supposed to be around 1, we are status 4 (as laid out in the roadmap) and they are talking about reducing social distancing.
    I think you've answered yourself. They'll just blame Matt Hancock blither a bit, carry on, and keep trying to bury the death figures that show how awfully they've handled it. To be honest judging by my trip to Tesco yesterday lunch time 50% of people seem to have given up on social distancing already so might as well just accept a second spike is coming.
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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    If the "government" (kakistocracy) goes with the Apple Google solution, how long will it take, from installing it on your phone, before you start seeing a whole load of new covid related adverts, everywhere you go online?

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    ... Anyone who's had to debug will surely understand far quicker than someone who never has.
    I vaguely, and uncomfortably, remember writing my first C program, about umphhh years ago, and getting, IIRC, 23 compiler errors. Which wad pretty impressive for a "Hello World" program.

    So I added in the semi-colon I'd carelessy omitted early in the, what, five lines of code, and it compiled and ran perfectly. and syntax errors are usually (though not always) trivial to find, whole logic errors .... not so much. Stupid computers seem incapable of working out what you meant, not what you actually wrote.

    I certainly get it, and I'm not a programmer. Well, I did a fair bit of database programming, and dabbled (i.e. university courses in COBOL, Fortran and Algol, back when Noah was still building his Ark) and Pascal, C++ which, for sometime taught linear programming, made my head ache.

    But programming has only ever been incidental to my job, or work, never the core of it.

    This is, IMHO, why we need more MPs that worked for a living before politics, not either lawyers, or Oxbridge PPE graduates (whether Bullingdon members of not) that did a secondment at a PR/spin shop before becoming a SpAd.

    In fact, IMHO, such experience ought to be mandatory, perhaps with a minimum age of 30 for MP's, and 8-10 years 'proper' work.


    /Feel better for getting that rant off my chest. D
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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    I vaguely, and uncomfortably, remember writing my first C program, about umphhh years ago, and getting, IIRC, 23 compiler errors. Which wad pretty impressive for a "Hello World" program.

    So I added in the semi-colon I'd carelessy omitted early in the, what, five lines of code, and it compiled and ran perfectly. and syntax errors are usually (though not always) trivial to find, whole logic errors .... not so much. Stupid computers seem incapable of working out what you meant, not what you actually wrote.

    I certainly get it, and I'm not a programmer. Well, I did a fair bit of database programming, and dabbled (i.e. university courses in COBOL, Fortran and Algol, back when Noah was still building his Ark) and Pascal, C++ which, for sometime taught linear programming, made my head ache.

    But programming has only ever been incidental to my job, or work, never the core of it.

    This is, IMHO, why we need more MPs that worked for a living before politics, not either lawyers, or Oxbridge PPE graduates (whether Bullingdon members of not) that did a secondment at a PR/spin shop before becoming a SpAd.

    In fact, IMHO, such experience ought to be mandatory, perhaps with a minimum age of 30 for MP's, and 8-10 years 'proper' work.


    /Feel better for getting that rant off my chest. D
    While I agree with the life experience and proper jobs bit I don't agree with a 30+ threshold. MPs already skew older than the average employers working population and this would make it worse. How will the under 30s be represented well if they are barred from entry.

    There are some I'm their early 20s who have more real world experience than some of the Eton set ever will.

    I say this as an over 30 myself.

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    If they force me to install such a APP on my phone, i would cancel my phone and throw it out, then they can give me a new phone and pay for it too at the minimum.
    Or they can put a tracker inside me and or all people, and then they can see how popular that will be.

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Gentle Viking View Post
    If they force me to install such a APP on my phone, i would cancel my phone and throw it out, then they can give me a new phone and pay for it too at the minimum.
    Or they can put a tracker inside me and or all people, and then they can see how popular that will be.
    The tracker is already there, only it's for the benefit of Apple or Google (depending on your phone). That's probably a big reason they want to switch, they don't need to say "the government is tracking you" instead they just use some of the existing systems that have been tracking you for years, and you don't complain despite the government getting exactly the same tracking information out of it.

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    If you're on Android and are fairly up to date it's on there already @gentle viking...

    If you are on iphone it will already have installed silently the framework without asking you...
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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    I vaguely, and uncomfortably, remember writing my first C program, about umphhh years ago, and getting, IIRC, 23 compiler errors. Which wad pretty impressive for a "Hello World" program.

    So I added in the semi-colon I'd carelessy omitted early in the, what, five lines of code, and it compiled and ran perfectly. and syntax errors are usually (though not always) trivial to find, whole logic errors .... not so much. Stupid computers seem incapable of working out what you meant, not what you actually wrote.

    I certainly get it, and I'm not a programmer. Well, I did a fair bit of database programming, and dabbled (i.e. university courses in COBOL, Fortran and Algol, back when Noah was still building his Ark) and Pascal, C++ which, for sometime taught linear programming, made my head ache.

    But programming has only ever been incidental to my job, or work, never the core of it.

    This is, IMHO, why we need more MPs that worked for a living before politics, not either lawyers, or Oxbridge PPE graduates (whether Bullingdon members of not) that did a secondment at a PR/spin shop before becoming a SpAd.

    In fact, IMHO, such experience ought to be mandatory, perhaps with a minimum age of 30 for MP's, and 8-10 years 'proper' work.


    /Feel better for getting that rant off my chest. D
    I think in a way you've raised another problem. You've some familarity with programming but its not up to date, not even vaguely (and I say that as desktop developer in a web/cloud word). Any experience an MP will be drawing on will be out of date by at least 5 years at the end of their term (and probably more). I'd rather have MPs that listen and take advice and understand they don't know. The problem with half these Eton boys is they are so convienced they are right they don't listen and just employ yes men.
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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    This is, IMHO, why we need more MPs that worked for a living before politics, not either lawyers, or Oxbridge PPE graduates (whether Bullingdon members of not) that did a secondment at a PR/spin shop before becoming a SpAd.

    In fact, IMHO, such experience ought to be mandatory, perhaps with a minimum age of 30 for MP's, and 8-10 years 'proper' work.
    Now that's what I'd like to see, Maurice Moss, Ross, and Jen giving the daily COVID briefing.

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    If I remember rightly, the Apple/Google approach was to send details of your contacts to two private companies as well as the intended use.

    I will quite simply be installing this ONLY if it is tested first. The government knowing where we are all the time is bad enough, but also being able to easily put their hand on who you were near is a step too far. I say this as someone who has been through some of the most thorough vetting this country can offer. I've had my friends, family, neighbours, etc investigated as well as my social media and medical history trawled through by the authorities. But the difference there is I volunteered for that (although I'm not sure my neighbours did - suspect it was only a criminal records / terrorism check though, rather than the full monty).

    If they make this mandatory, you know what'll happen. You'll get arrested in the very early morning, taken to a cop shop and interviewed under caution because you happened to have been in the same pub as some criminal. We are living in an age where the government body that oversees FARMING can access your internet history stored by your ISP.

    I do not trust this government one bit to handle this data how we want them to. I'm sure the Google location data sharing with our government will not go away once this is over. And they'll creep further and further into our lives without invitation.

    I will only trust this if either I hold the data on my phone and choose if I want to release it at the request of an NHS agency which subscribes to the confidentiality laws, etc of the healthcare system. Or, if the data is held centrally and government can not access it, access only being available along the same lines as health records - with my express consent.

    Any app that comes along will be subjected to packet analysis by yours truly and I'll be watching where they go. The evidence from the US is that the data is going places it should not.

    I don't quite understand what HTTP invalid request line testing does, but it does suggest there is a middlebox listening in to my stuff... and I know what that means.

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    Re: UK gov considering switch to Apple-Google Covid-19 app tech

    The government already knows more about me than any such app could tell them. Part of that is various security checks against me and members of my family/friends, in order to make sure I'm (probably) not a terrorist... and I know for a fact companies have sold the rest of the information to Russia and China.
    This app won't give them anything new.
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