Connect with us

Tech

The UK’s contact-tracing app is in trouble

Published

on

Countries around the world are scrambling to create contact-tracing apps that will help track the spread of COVID-19. But a beta app launched by the UK this week shows the huge challenges they face and, crucially, the difficulty in designing an effective app without the help of the tech giants that make our phones.

The UK is one of the few countries that has chosen to create a contact-tracing app that is incompatible with the contact-tracing API currently being developed by Google and Apple. Instead of decentralizing the data across devices, the UK will pool the information it collects in a single database operated by the National Health Service, or NHS.

The government argues this will provide greater insight into the spread of COVID-19 and allow the NHS to decide which users are most at risk. Privacy advocates, though, warn it creates new avenues for state surveillance. Already, the UK government appears to have undermined prior assurances that it won’t share the data it collects outside the NHS, suggesting other organizations might use the information for public health research in the future. This is something Apple and Google forbid for any app using their API, and another reason the UK has to build its app without the companies’ help.

But in addition to privacy issues, researchers have identified a major problem in the UK’s efforts to build an app without Google and Apple: it simply won’t work as advertised.

The core issue is one familiar to mobile security experts: app permissions. Contact-tracing apps use Bluetooth to create a log of nearby devices using the app, and, by extension, people with whom users have come into contact. When a user is diagnosed with COVID-19 or starts to show symptoms, they notify their app which then pings the devices of those people. Some apps, like the one built by Singapore, constantly broadcast Bluetooth pings to find nearby devices. Others, like the one built by the UK, try to create active Bluetooth pairings or “handshakes.”

The problem is that both Google and Apple restrict how apps can use Bluetooth in iOS and Android. They don’t allow developers to constantly broadcast Bluetooth signals, as that sort of background broadcast has been exploited in the past for targeted advertising. As The Register reports, iOS apps can only send Bluetooth signals when the app is running in the foreground. If your iPhone is locked or you’re not looking at the app, then there’s no signal. The latest versions of Android have similar restrictions, only allowing Bluetooth signals to be sent out for a few minutes after an app has closed. Such restrictions will block devices from pinging one another in close quarters, drastically reducing the effectiveness of any contact-tracing app.

 

 

 

Google and Apple can rewrite these rules for their own contact-tracing API because they control the operating systems. But for countries trying to go it alone, like the UK, the restrictions could literally be fatal. iPhone users with the app installed could interact with someone who is later diagnosed with COVID-19 and never know it, if their phone doesn’t keep a log of their interaction.

The UK government has implied it’s created some unknown workaround to these issues, and there certainly are subtleties in how these protocols operate that might work in its favor. For example, while iOS devices can’t broadcast Bluetooth signals constantly, they can receive them from older Android devices. Doing so would essentially wake up the software and allow the app to exchange vital data.

It’s possible to argue, then, that the UK app will work in urban environments where there are a mix of old and new iOS and Android devices constantly in use. But experts say this is a long way from a reliable mechanism necessary to trace the spread of a deadly disease, especially considering that the market share of iOS in the UK is more than 50 percent.

Speaking to The Verge, digital rights expert Michael Veale, who is also part of an international consortium developing decentralized contact-tracing protocols, says there really is no way to build a contract-tracing system without the help of Apple and Google, who he praised for working at “lightning speed” on the issue. “They’ve been moving much faster than we’d expect them to,” he said. “They’ve provided a unified way that works across borders [and] that lots of countries are using.”

But exactly how the UK’s problems will play out is impossible to predict. The beta contact-tracing app is only launching as a small pilot this week in the Isle of Wight, an island with a population of 141,000 off the south coast of England. The UK government still has time to tweak its functionality or switch to a decentralized system, just as Germany did last month. For as coronavirus has shown, although every country has to fight its own idiosyncratic battle with the virus, that doesn’t stop them learning from others.

“The alternative to working with [Google and Apple] is to create a system that doesn’t work on iPhones, that leads to centralized databases that destroy trust, and that doesn’t work across borders and so won’t help open up international travel,” says Veale. “This is the British problem.”

Source: The Verge

Source link

Edited By Harry Miller

Continue Reading

Tech

iPhone 11 customers noticing random green display bug, unclear how to fix – 9to5Mac

Published

on


Some users are now complaining about a noticeable green tint on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max displays. The problem seems to occur randomly after unlocking the device, and it may be related to a software bug.

Reports about the greenish screen effect have been shared on Reddit (via MacRumors), and it seems that the problem mostly affects iPhone 11 models. There are some inconsistencies about how this issue happens, but in most cases the screen turns green right after unlocking the iPhone or when Dark Mode and Night Shift are activated.

Rather than a hardware problem, this might be a software issue, as many users have claimed they were affected after updating to iOS 13.5.

At first, I feared that it was a hardware issue — but then my mother’s phone started showing the tint. It’s just one more bug in iOS 13.5. They’ll prolly fix it in 13.5.2 (or, well, iOS 14 beta).

It seems that the green tint disappears after a while, but it keeps coming back periodically, bothering iPhone 11 users.

If that is indeed a software problem, Apple can fix it with a future iOS update — the company is currently running tests with iOS 13.5.5 beta. Unfortunately, there are no workarounds for that at the moment, so affected users will have to wait until Apple addresses the bug.

Have you been affected by the random greenish screen effect with your iPhone? Let us know in the comments section below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

[embedded content]

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Raptors Uprising down Nets GC to improve to 7-0 in NBA 2K league esports play – pentictonherald.ca

Published

on


TORONTO – Raptors Uprising GC continued its perfect start to the NBA 2K League esports season, sweeping Nets GC in its best-of-three series Friday to improve to 7-0.

The Raptors raced out to an early lead in Game 1 but had to rally to take Game 2.

Toronto downed Brooklyn 84-71 in Game 1 and 79-72 in Game 2 with star point guard Kenneth (Kenny Got Work) Hailey, an early MVP candidate, racking up 75 points in the Raptors’ two wins.

Hailey was averaging 32.9 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.1 steals going into Friday’s game.

The Nets, who had won three straight, fell to 3-2.

Hailey led the way with 32 points — and zero turnovers — in Game 1 while rookie power forward Maurice (ReeceMode) Flowers added 25 points. Centre Jerry (Sick One) Knapp recorded his fourth triple-double of the season with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Point guard Josh (Choc) Humphries led the Nets with 32 points and 10 assists. Humphries, the ninth overall pick in the February draft, was averaging 31.6 points and 8.3 assists per game prior to Friday’s play.

In Game 2, the Nets rallied to lead 18-15 after the first quarter — with Humphries accounting for 14 of Brooklyn’s points— and 36-32 at the half. Hailey, who had 14 points in the half, hit a late three-pointer to reduce the Raptors’ deficit.

But Toronto reeled off a 22-7 run to open the third quarter and led 60-50 going into the final quarter.

Brooklyn had some connectivity issues in Game 1, according to the NBA 2K official broadcast feed.

The NBA 2K League’s third season was to have started March 24 but was postponed until May 5 because of the global pandemic. The first six weeks of the rescheduled season are being played remotely rather than at the league’s New York City studio although the league has yet to say what happens beyond Week 6.

It was the fourth game in four days for Brooklyn, which did not open its season until May 29. In contrast, Toronto began play May 5.

Toronto, which has now swept five of its first seven series, hadn’t played in 15 days following a Week 4 bye. The Raptors snapped Hawks Talon GC’s three-game win streak last time they played on May 21.

Friday marked the second ever meeting between the two teams. Toronto won 54-42 in week 3 last season. That game saw former Raptors centre Seanquai (KingQuai614)Harris pull down a franchise-record 20 rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Toronto plays Blazer5 Gaming on June 11 and Celtics Crossover Gaming on June 12.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2020.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Customers are reporting a bug in their iPhone 11's display – Pocketnow

Published

on


It seems that the green tint isn’t a Samsung problem only. Some Apple users are starting to report a green tint on the displays in their iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro devices. It apparently appears randomly after unlocking their devices.

The guys over at MacRumors have spotted several reports at Reddit, of Apple customers that mention a green tint on the iPhone 11 models. In most cases, the displays turn green after unlocking their devices or when Dark Mode and Night Shift are activated. It is believed that this is a software issue since it started to show up after the iOS 13.5 update.

The green tint disappears after a while, but it comes back from time to time. Maybe this bug will go away with a future iOS update, but iPhone 11 users will have to wait, as Apple is currently testing iOS 13.5.5 beta.

Source MacRumors

Via Reddit

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending