[clug] 'Tracetogether' App - First Dog suggests 'publishing' source might not be enough

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Sat Apr 25 01:31:08 UTC 2020

Dare I say that there is a sort-of middle ground to the "smartphone"
tracking issue. Anyone using eg. Airbuds, fit-bits, etc. already
doesn't mind being tracked - they are already emitting a cloud of
BLE, with their MAC address(es), everywhere they go.

If anyone else who cares wants to, they can simply track those bluetooth
MACs of devices in proximity and store it locally, without emitting any
BLE MACs themselves.

Then two scenarios:
  - actor1 with the BLE enabled is diagnosed.
  - actor2 tracking BLE but not emitting is diagnosed.

In the first case, the health folk can make available, with actor1s
permission, hashed copies of the bluetooth MAC on some publicly
accessible website without any personal identifying data. Actor2
can take it upon themselves to check any MACs they have tracked and
may have suspicions about. This could be automated. Add in some
dummy MACs to get an idea of people attempting to brute-force the

In the second case, actor2 simply hands over their list of tracked
MACs from their BLE tracking app (within a suitable time range) to
the health folk, who can then do whatever follow-up is necessary.

That is what I'll be doing in the first instance until someone can
demonstrate that the official tracking app is saving lives _in my

Bob Edwards.

On 24/4/20 11:51 pm, jhock--- via linux wrote:
> Wow. I didn't expect to be attacked.
> I think that you may be wrong there. I believe that there are current laws that requires a person to report to the The Department of Health if one has a contagious disease and the department has the right to use that information to find any other people who may be affected by contact with, our near that person. However, that person still has the right to privacy and the department can't release that information willy nilly to just anyone who doesn't have a valid reason to access that data. Hence one's privacy is protected.
> I of course would obey that law if I had covid-19 or any other communicable disease as I would expect anybody else to do so. However, as we have seen from thousands of other apps, the information they gather has been used for other purposes. I don't know what information is tracked by the app but I'm sure it is likely to be more than necessary as required by the current health laws. I don't believe one must have a mobile phone and one must switch on location. I try not to allow any of my information to be accessed by apps because I don't know what that data is and I don't trust what companies will do with that information. Amazon is notorious for eliminating its competition and pushing ads and they will store the Tracetogether data.
> I believe we are getting off topic here. It's the app itself that's in question and I would provide all information required by the Department of Health but I don't trust an app that I don't know what data it is gathering.
> On 24 April 2020 5:40:22 pm AEST, Hugh Fisher via linux <linux at lists.samba.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 9:49 AM jhock--- via linux
>> <linux at lists.samba.org> wrote:
>>> Anyway, to get back to the topic, no government is going to get my
>> location, or any other, data via the Tractetogether app. If it becomes
>> legislation and it's enforced then I'll switch off my mobile phone
>> until the covid-19 pandemic is over. Too many people give up their
>> privacy just for the convenience of accessing social media and other
>> stupid apps. They say that they have nothing to hide, but it's the
>> principle that matters and that attitude makes it even more difficult
>> for we who are concerned about privacy.
>> You, like everybody else, don't have an absolute right to privacy if
>> you have a
>> contagious and deadly disease.
>> If you come into contact with someone
>> who
>> has Covid-19 and are now a potential carrier, you don't have the right
>> to hide
>> this from anyone else who you might contact in the future.
>> If this
>> tracing app
>> becomes the standard way to control infection, then you are risking not
>> just
>> your own life but those of other people.
>> I'm not saying a tracing app is necessarily the ideal solution. See the
>> link to
>> Ross Anderson I posted earlier. But pretending this is just another
>> ploy by
>> social media companies to capture our data is ridiculous.
>> Here's Maciej Cegłowski on tracing apps vs privacy:
>> https://idlewords.com/2020/03/we_need_a_massive_surveillance_program.htm

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