Contact tracing card or phone app?

The Government are considering a phone app for contact tracing, and they are also looking at the possibility of a Covid card that everyone would be supposed to carry when going out in public.

Government tracking of the population is a contentious issue with fears of becoming a surveillance society (more so than now), but perhaps a card would be better than a phone app.

Stuff: Government considering Covid Card for contact tracing

New Zealanders could soon be carrying an extra eftpos-sized card with them as a way to help contact tracing of coronavirus.

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson confirmed a card was being considered as a digitised option for contact tracing, alongside options like mobile apps.

“There is a lot of work being done in a lot of businesses and research centres on what is the best way to support contact tracing.

“I’m aware there is work going on in a card-type approach.”

He said all options were being looked into to decide the best option for New Zealanders.

Newsroom reported the card option was presented to Justice Minister Andrew Little and Communications Minister Kris Faafoi on April 12.

The card would be handed out to all New Zealanders and cost the Government $100 million.

Andrew Chen, research fellow at Auckland University Koi Tū – Centre for Informed Futures, said a card would work in a similar way to apps which have also been proposed, in that it would connect to other bluetooth devices and store the information of people you came in contact with.

He said using a card had some positives, including being accessible to everyone, not just those with smartphones.

However, it could be easy to forget at home, and not enough people would use the device to gather data needed to control the spread of Covid-19.

He said using an app for those who had smartphones, and a card for those who do not, might be the solution.

Every option would have downsides, and he said the government needed to pick one so it could start being implemented.

Another downside for both is that people who don’t care about spreading Covid may also not care to be tracked by the Government.

Maybe the card wouldn’t be such a bad thing, for a limited time.

I’m not keen on being tracked via my phone. There’s no way of being certain what is being monitored and what data might be pulled off the phone. And there’s no easy way of being certain the app is removed properly if you try that.

At least with a card you can choose to take it with you, or choose not to. You can leave it in your car or letter box so there’s no way of being tracked in your home. And it would be a lot simpler to throw away or destroy than your phone.

But do we need tracking at all? If we are successful at keeping the Covid spread to a minimum then tracking devices look to be a possible overkill.

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65 Comments

  1. Gerrit

     /  12th May 2020

    Worth a read from a possibly terrifying paranoia perspective. Inch by inch, bracket creep will ensure it becomes a national identity card plus a precursor to keeping a social creditr score for each individual still in Orwell’s four legs category.

    https://www.richard-prosser.com/post/dob-thy-neighbour?fbclid=IwAR1Dvhfrb7U_x1S6x5U3v0_5jJPD63WTzsq9sbZbXaaEW0fj7oj4J531zvw

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  12th May 2020

      Be interesting to see how this would be implemented as there would be significant push back. If someone failed to adopt the card or the app would they be barred from practising certain professions.. eg nurse, doctor, teacher or would the govt rely on social pressure to drive adoption. Would you be banned from certain venues if you didn’t have the card or app.

      A very significant change to nz culture appears on the horizon.

      Reply
    • Ray

       /  12th May 2020

      Dr Ayesha Verrall says we need to be able track 1000 people a day but the thing is we could only do about 100 at the hight of the spread..and we managed ok possibly thanks to luck.
      But Covid is not and apart from a couple of cases spread by community transmission, trackers on all those who have been exposed and anybody coming in from overseas could stop this in its tracks…and has.
      So why do we need to track the whole population now?

      Reply
      • So that it looks as if we’re doing something ?

        What’s another hundred miilion ? It’s only a million for each active case.

        Reply
  2. Geoffrey Monks

     /  12th May 2020

    Looks rather like our Dear Leader has decided that a third of option of “no digital tracking” is not a starter.

    Reply
  3. Corky

     /  12th May 2020

    ”They are also looking at the possibility of a Covid card that everyone would be supposed to carry when going out in public.”

    Hmm..I wonder who predicted that.

    Reply
    • You will probably claim to have done so.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  12th May 2020

        As a matter of fact I predicted that every person would need special ID to access public buildings. Of course that will come after the government gets people used to carrying cards.

        Have you ever wondered why you have no ability to predict any future event?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  12th May 2020

          The Chinese Army didn’t invade Hong Kong over Christmas.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  12th May 2020

            I believe that’s the case. Of course there’s no need to invade now. Talk about luck.

            Reply
        • How do you know that I have no ability to predict future events ? I don’t feel the need to broadcast it when I feel that something will happen, and I don’t claim to have predicted things after they have happened. Anyone can say that they predicted events when it’s already happened, knowing that no one will know that they haven’t. I could say that I predicted the break between the Sussexes and the Royal Family; who could prove that I didn’t ?

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  12th May 2020

            The difference is I predict and post. You don’t. Because you can’t. You have no ability because you can’t observe…you can’t extrapolate and you have no psychic ability. I even post predictions if I think they are important, even if I’m not 100% sure..which of course applies to all predictions.

            Here..LOOK AT THE DATE!

            Quote:

            Corky / 29th December 2019

            Just had some bad news from my astrologer. He phoned me to say 2020 onwards will be the decade from hell with planetary conjunctions all over the place. He claims things will become worse from the 12th of January 2020.

            The good news is… he was pissed. And I think he had partaken in some dakky backky. That said, it always pays to be prepared.

            Lurchy.. make sure your cupboards are full. And have at least a ten years supply of dog biscuits. You can eat the remainder should RED become purple.( a little prepper humour).

            https://yournz.org/2019/12/28/end-of-a-decade/#comment-390954

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  12th May 2020

              *I even post OTHERS predictions.

            • Oh, if you say so; it’s pointless arguing with such a know-all who thinks that he knows all about some stranger.You know nothing about me and my abilities, so anything you say is worthless.

              But your idea that I can’t observe because I don’t hang around supermarkets with my eyes sticking out like pickled onions, my ears flapping and my mouth wide open staring at strangers and what they have in their trolleys is fatuous. There is a huge difference between noticing things and gawping…and inventing what you supposedly see; like someone bent over with arthritis. This is an obvious invention as it doesn’t have that effect.

  4. NOEL

     /  12th May 2020

    Madame may I have your Civic card so I can scan the barecode?
    15 minutes pass. I know it’s in my bag some where.

    Personally I favour phone. Text and voice only on mine.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th May 2020

      I favour the card, but only if it inactive fakes can be easily manufactured & sold at dairies.

      Reply
  5. NOEL

     /  12th May 2020

    And if it has a chip

    Reply
  6. David in aus

     /  12th May 2020

    The government should have sorted this out before moving to level 2.

    In NZ, unlike other countries mobile phone numbers are not registered. I don’t think the privacy issues is as pertinent.

    I am not sure how they will contact card holder? Most likely through a mobile phone. Hey what is 100 million dollars to this government. What a waste of money.

    Supposedly a card is to protect privacy but to be useful you need people’s contact details. Clayton card for privacy.

    The crux of the issue there needs to be consent from the population between the tradeoffs of privacy and safety.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th May 2020

      Be Interesting to see how much debate & serious questioning msm repeaters/reporters get into over this. Most of them will be of a generation that’s been happily surrendering their privacy by clicking “accept” T&Cs online for years.

      Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  12th May 2020

    Seems absolutely pointless. Country folk know how many people they have seen in a day. City folk have no idea and the number will vastly exceed public health’s capacity and ability to contact trace. So useless on both counts.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th May 2020

      She’s pissing off people wanting proper funerals, wedding planners, & would-be family gatherers while telling churchgoers they can all throng along to their local religious edifice in their hundreds should they wish.

      Wot’s the bloody logic there? 😠 Get stuck in Simon.

      🤔 Wait! Unless, as a possible godless heathen, she maybe hopes to hasten the passing of as many church elders as possible, kindly?

      Reply
      • “telling churchgoers they can all throng along to their local religious edifice in their hundreds ”

        No, that’s not allowed and being grizzled about – “religious services” must “have no more than 10 people”.

        Someone suggested calling the church a bar and serving drinks so they can al least operate from next week.

        Someone else pointed out that a religious school may have a class of 20 go to the church (as they sometimes do as part of school) but they can’t do that outside school.

        But another point was that a lot of people who go to church are in the older more covid vulnerable age group so a higher risk than school aged kids.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  12th May 2020

          Well, then confusion abounds as yesterday I saw reports saying church attendences weren’t limited.

          I’ll repeat an earlier comment in a yesterday’s post that I believe these level 2 restrictions are being imposed & to supposedly be relaxed over time for electioneering purposes now, stretching it out for as long as the polls show public support for Jacinda & enabling her to keep her Show going for as long as poss.

          Reply
      • I saw 10, which means that it won’t be worth bothering.

        I’d hate to think that it’s an attempt to kill off the churches because 90 people have a virus.

        Reply
        • I presume it’s an attempt to avoid killing off the parishioners.

          Reply
        • The people are only at risk if someone there has the virus, which is highly unlikely now. Wanganui has no cases. My mother’s friend is a lifelong church-goer and has been longing to go back…and a lifelong Labour voter. I wonder if she’ll still be the latter.

          Reply
          • Our Dear Leader can’t have it both ways..

            We are being restricted as if Covid was rife, which it never was here.

            But we are also hearing how wonderfully she has eradicated or eliminated it.

            They can’t both be right.

            Reply
          • The stats from Otago Southland are both promising and a bit concerning.

            There have been no new cases in the Southern DHB region for 3 weeks – that’s very good.

            But there are still 7 active cases, so they must have been active for at least 3 weeks. That’s a long time to have Covid, and to presumably be potentially contagious.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  12th May 2020

              Yes, as I noted the other day, their “recoveries” data is weird. I don’t trust it.

  8. david in aus

     /  12th May 2020

    The reason they shut down the country is they lacked contact tracing resources. These apps or technology increases the productivity and accuracy of contact tracing.

    It was obvious that the public health system in NZ does not have the resources to manually check every case.

    Reality check, you can not contact trace without the loss of privacy. Otherwise, you will be chasing phantom people. Without this, they will be crossing their fingers and hoping for the best but not preparing for the worst. The next outbreak will result in another shutdown.

    Reply
  9. Zedd

     /  12th May 2020

    what next: barcodes on foreheads 6-6-6 :/

    Reply
    • Or tattoos on our arms ?

      Microchips ?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  12th May 2020

        Ultimately that (or a biological or biotech equivalent) is probably what will happen when births are registered at some future point.

        Reply
  10. david in aus

     /  12th May 2020

    My prediction, there will be another shutdown in NZ if the ability to contact trace isn’t there.

    People seem to want to learn the hard way. South Korea learned the lessons from its MERS outbreak. That is why they passed legislation after the MERS outbreak to allow technology to trace people. That ability is time-limited and only the people are the guarantors.

    Protection from a totalitarian comes from the culture and attitude of its people, like democracy. Not from preventing measures that promote public health.

    I would prefer contact-tracing apps to further shutdowns. Shutdowns are more restrictive of freedoms than contact tracing apps.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  12th May 2020

      Do the apps work and produce more reliable, usable info than a human question and answer session? I can see a huge false positive negative problem from a system with only vague distance/relationship data to work with.

      Reply
      • I presume tracking device designers consider this, but imagine proximity detection at a supermarket, it should register everyone you pass in an aisle and probably others. That could create a lot of tracking work.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  12th May 2020

          Yes, or sit in a cafe or outside on the pavement and there will be dozens passing or queuing in Bluetooth range. Seems completely pointless.

          Reply
          • How could it know who they were ???
            Man beside me putting apples in bag.
            Elderly Chinese couple pass in opposite direction.
            Woman buying bar of chocolate,
            Staff member reaching something down from top shelf.
            Checkout operator.
            Young man on bench eating a sandwich.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  12th May 2020

              Providing they were equipped with the app or card the devices would share Ids. That really isn’t the problem. The problem is sifting the risky interactions from all the others.

            • Geoffrey Monks

               /  12th May 2020

              Spot on Kitty, realistic interpretation of the data is well beyond present capabilities. Hell they have still to get teachers pay sorted and haven’t managed to reduce Cindy’s pay by 20%

            • Isn’t her paycut sorted YET ? How hard can that be ?

              The people I described were only a few of the people I was near at Pak & Save !

      • david in aus

         /  12th May 2020

        Bluetooth Apps in Australia or Singapore require close proximity for 15 minutes or more; anonymized data.

        South Korea, it is phone location tracking, credit card and CCTV data; anonymised except for age and sec.

        Reply
        • I’m surprised by this 15 minute thing. I saw a while ago someone seemed to think if contact was for less than 15 minutes you were safe from Covid. I would have thought it could have been transmitted in a second. I don’t think it sits waiting giving 15 minutes grace before landing on you.

          Reply
          • david in aus

             /  12th May 2020

            It is risk-based. It will not be perfect but the risk of infection increases with being close proximately and prolonged contact. That is why family members of cases are at the highest risk.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  12th May 2020

              Equally family members are surely the easiest to identify and trace without an app.

            • david in aus

               /  12th May 2020

              They are not worried about family members. It is the people you are next to at shops/restaurants/gyms etc.

              Perhaps instead, people should share their names and contact details with people next to them. To avoid privacy issues with phone apps.

            • Gezza

               /  12th May 2020

              Would you want to give your name & contact details to Blazer, Duker, or Corky?

            • Gerrit

               /  12th May 2020

              Problem is how far and to how many levels do you test. If one person infects a whole family then every interactional contact with those family members, needs to be tested. Keep going in an ever widening circle where contacts of the contacts interacting with the original infectee’s family members, and pretty soon the circle will be humongous large. Say one contact infects 30 people and they in turn have contact with 30 more followed by each of those with 30 more, etc., etc., etc.

              Might as well test everybody, each fortnight to be sure you catch everyone. Going to need some serious numbers of boots on the ground to trace and test otherwise.

        • Of course….NOT.

          Or to anyone else; They might be a bore who wants to be your best friend, or a stalker.They might be a Destiny religious nutter or a sales rep who won’t take no for an answer. They could be a NZF member who wants you to join up.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  12th May 2020

            Horrors, madam.
            How ghastly!
            Sir Gerald

            Reply
            • They might be someone like Sarah W, whom I knew at Vic and who was convinced that The Lord had chosen a husband for her. As she told everyone the good news, all the boys were terrified; if she decided that X was the one chosen for her, X would have no chance.

  11. Alan Wilkinson

     /  12th May 2020

    Hydroxychloroquine being trialled again in the UK for early stage protection:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/11/drug-championed-donald-trump-trialed-uk-among-vulnerable-groups/

    Reply
    • david in aus

       /  12th May 2020

      Hydroxychloroquine looks like a bust. Trump was promoting it, I think, to give a boost to the stock market. The toxicity effects probably do not outweigh any possible positives. Results in a test tube rarely translate to humans.

      Trump’s credibility is very poor, e.g. inject disinfectant.

      A vaccine is the silver bullet to return to normality.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  12th May 2020

        I would have thought that too, but why are senior medics in the UK pushing this trial? They must have some indications it is worthwhile.

        I don’t think Trump ever said “inject” disinfectant (isopropyl alcohol). It was just a throwaway comment at the tail of a long scientific dissertation seized on by his media enemies as I’ve documented before.

        Reply
        • artcroft

           /  12th May 2020

          He spoke about ingesting bleach somehow. But how? No idea. Anyway he’s dropped any interest in covid in order to pursue his fantasies about Obama and Hillary again.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  12th May 2020

            No, at the end of a long dissertation from his science advisor about the effectiveness of isopropyl alcohol at killing the virus as a disinfectant he made a throwaway comment about how good it would be if it could be used to clear up people’s lungs. The media seized on this as advocating injecting disinfectant and therefore bleach. Quite shameless.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  12th May 2020

              No you’re inventing a rationale yet again for his stupid & ignorant comments.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  12th May 2020

              Nope, I cited the transcript.

            • Gezza

               /  12th May 2020

              You needed to watch the video

            • Trevors_elbow

               /  13th May 2020

              You’re right Alan. Trump never said inject disinfectant…. he said it would good if they had something LIKE disinfectant for the blood at end of the presentation you referenced…

              The media falsely reported and the Anti Trumpers gleefully spread the lie.

              How do I know? I listened to that part of the press conference … nothing like checking the source instead of relying on the likes of CNN to just report factually

            • “The media”? can you be more specific. What I saw was media showing the video of Trump talking about it, and quoting what Trump said (as I did here). What he actually said:

              “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

              https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-suggests-injection-disinfectant-beat-coronavirus-clean-lungs-n1191216

              So he did talk about disinfectant an”d injection into the lungs. Ridiculous comments from the President in a major media conference.

              He also said:

              “So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing,” Trump said, speaking to Bryan during the briefing. “And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.

              Nutty comnents like this led to him stopping haveing conferences and shortening them. He has made the job of White House medical experts a lot harder than they already were.

            • Duker

               /  13th May 2020

              Yes. The video has his actual words, others are quoting White House transcript which was sanitised after…a very common occurrence fir Trump

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th May 2020

              B.s. I already refuted that nonsense last time you raised it.

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