Canada's 'COVID Alert' App Using Apple's Exposure Notification API Now Available

gaximus

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2011
1,038
1,395
No, it's like saying that Walmart controls the furniture in your house. It's your house - you own it, you pick what furniture goes in it.
That would be true if you had bought your house from Walmart, knowing that once you bought it you could only put their furniture in it. If you don’t want only their furniture, then you go get your house at Target, because they don’t care about what furniture you put in your your house.
 
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CarlJ

macrumors 601
Feb 23, 2004
4,520
7,429
San Diego, CA, USA
WHY are states making apps? This should be a federal level thing.
A lot of things about this pandemic should be federal level, but the federal level has abdicated. Such a great opportunity to step up to the plate, do bunch of work coordinating things, and go down in history as a hero. Instead the leader at the federal level downplays the virus, pretends it’s going away on its own, and insists kids should go back to school in the fall. So, the states have to handle this, because no one else will.
 

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
1,838
1,886
tokyo
Yeah. Call me crazy but I'll take my chances against a virus that 99.9% of people survive. lol.
hello

let me refer you to the Forum Rules:

quote:
...you can't call a bigot a bigot, a troll a troll, or a fanboy a fanboy, any more than you can call an idiot an idiot.
endquote

so you're safe.

its very good for all of us to understand exactly how you think on matters like this and all opinions are very welcome, especially ones that have been given in honesty and candour.

 
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Jensend

macrumors regular
Dec 19, 2008
194
229
Yeah. Call me crazy but I'll take my chances against a virus that 99.9% of people survive. lol.
More people in the US have died of Covid-19 than have died of traffic accidents in the past 4 years combined. Do you take your chances by not wearing a seatbelt? Or is wearing a seatbelt too much of a burden for you?

If anything, these apps could reduce the overall burden to you from this pandemic.

And if it isn't about the burden of installing an app on your phone, is it because you fear someone doing something nefarious with the data that phones are collecting with these apps (despite the existence of a plethora of other much more invasive data gathering practices)? Is that not also succumbing to "fear-porn"?
 

ikramerica

macrumors 6502
Apr 10, 2009
409
397
What is the point? It sounds like you might find out:

“You came into contact with someone who admits to testing positive at some time in some place in the past, but we can’t or won’t tell you exactly when or where.”

I can probably be confident that’s already true since this began. Did have a test last week before a medical procedure so for now I am still a-okay. Well, since last week...
 
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Ed217

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2012
337
79
Virginia
The concept is very good, but more involved than most understand. To work and be useful it requires the following:

A. Lots of people who have it on their phone
B. Positive status entered for those that test positive
C. You accept the option to receive alerts for being near positive people

Given these, getting close to someone who is positive will trigger an alert you can get.

Apple has had an COVID-19 app for months. I am unaware of any current exposure add-ons.

Without some way to get all the positives on record (many WILL NOT want to enter it manually), there will be little or nothing to detect. The lack of any kind of mandatory data here will likely make it useless...more like a world of hay, with very few needles...
 

JuBe

macrumors regular
May 28, 2009
103
33
The US is trying to hammer out a new bill related to COVID impacts between $1 trillion and $3 trillion yet there's no money in either bill to setup a contract tracing app like this in the US?
I don’t think the issue has to do with funding. My understanding is that the head of the executive branch has affirmatively decided to take a federalist approach to responding to the coronavirus (i.e., states have to figure it out on their own).

Cf. This federalist approach is not the consistently preferred model, as I would refer you to the administration’s comments and actions related to calls for social justice.
 
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JuBe

macrumors regular
May 28, 2009
103
33
Yeah. Call me crazy but I'll take my chances against a virus that 99.9% of people survive. lol.
Crazy.

This isn’t just about you, but if that’s what it takes for you to be a part of the solution, I’ll take a crack at it.

The point of this app is to promote awareness of a person’s coronavirus status. Sometimes, people can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus, and other times, people are clearly symptomatic (and are clearly contagious). Research is still underway to explain why some people remain asymptomatic, while other suffer symptoms that are exhausting, excruciatingly painful, traumatizing, dehumanizing, and up to death. So we don’t know what category your friends, family, and loved ones would fall into — but apologies, I‘m digressing from the reasons that are important specifically to you. Again, it’s not clear which category you would fall into or even if you would fall into the same category each time you contracted the virus (research is beginning to suggest that immunity can be short-lived, and people can suffer from COVID-19 multiple times).

The problem for you is that with all of these unknowns about the virus — not to mention flying blind to actually has the virus — is that life will never return to normal until we can get the virus under control. We can force kids to go back to school right around when flu season starts back up, we can force people to show up in-person for work by threatening to fire them if they don’t, and we can refuse to put any effort into testing and contact tracing, but the unknown saps any sort of confidence for people to go out. They won’t go out to eat, they won’t go out to shop, they won’t go out to baseball games, they won’t go out to barbecues, they won’t go to conferences, or to work-mandated team-building exercises. The economy will continue to falter (I’d mention the death toll continuing to rise, but this is about you and we’re assuming you’re still alive or at least that you haven’t contracted the virus and gone bankrupt paying for health care and you can still afford a device that can connect you to the MacRumors forum), you might lose your job, you might go homeless, and you might never experience the ”ease and comfort” of some semblance of certainty from a pre-pandemic time. I know there are more (and less) creative examples for how the rising number of infections could affect your life, but I’m done.

I’d love for you to join us. I’d love for you to be a part of the solution, rather than to snicker and sneer at solutions for a pandemic that has a stranglehold on this country, but I can’t make you. But please, I beg of you, don’t be selfish; please be in this with all of us together; wear a mask; help with tracing down this virus so we can treat people and be done with it.
 

RealMonster

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2007
117
74
The app uses services on the internet that rely on DNS, for example notification services. The rest follows, including fingerprinting of devices for identification and tracking.
This is irrelevant nonsense. Your phone is already pinging off of cell phone towers, and that's a much easier and more reliable way to know where you are if the government wants to track you.

Besides, the app is open source. If you want to check to see whether it's caching DNS query results and storing some sort of prospective (and possibly inaccurate) location data, you can go look.

Making up senseless boogeymen who are out to track you through this specific app rather than literally everything else you do on an iPhone in a given day is absurd. Facebook probably knows where I am within 100m at any given time, even if I don't open the site or app on my phone. You're looking at the wrong thing if you're trying to protect your privacy.
 

RealMonster

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2007
117
74
Yeah. Call me crazy but I'll take my chances against a virus that 99.9% of people survive. lol.
This is a vascular disease, and its mechanism of action appears to be causing blood clots in various parts of your body. Reports are now coming out that even if you survive, and you never had a case bad enough to warrant a hospital visit, there are still many long-term effects in a huge proportion of patients. Don't assume that just because you survive the infection that it comes without any consequences.




Do not eff around with this virus. You have no way of knowing if you'll sail through it or if you'll die or if you'll have long-term scarring in your lungs or damaged kidneys. This disease is a menace, and if anything, the media is underselling the danger.
 

RealMonster

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2007
117
74
In the USA there are 2,813,503 people die each year among those 647,457 die from heart disease and 599,108 die from cancer (1 million+ combined). Yet hospitals were not mobilized neither for heart disease patients nor for cancer patients nor trillions of dollars spent over those patients. So the government prioritized covid patients over the 1 million + patients that die most, year over a year.
Neither heart disease nor cancer are contagious in humans. And I dunno, there's a lot of focus on heart health, losing weight, cholesterol medication, etc., etc. If you think that the medical field doesn't do a LOT of work on heart disease, I don't know what to tell you. It's something they're deeply preoccupied with. California labels basically everything that has the barest chance of giving you cancer. Science news is always breathless with the latest possible treatment or diagnostic method for cancer.

Hospitals have whole oncology and cardiology departments. Like, whole WINGS of hospitals are dedicated SPECIFICALLY to those diseases. What more do you want? How can you say that the health system isn't mobilized for heart disease and cancer patients? Indeed, trying to keep COVID OUT of those departments to make sure those patients don't die of it as a secondary infection is a huge preoccupation at the moment.

And finally, it looks like COVID causes heart damage in a surprising number of its victims. If you really care about heart health, you want to try to avoid this disease at all costs. In a few years, I suspect we'll see an uptick in people who have lingering damage from their COVID infections start showing up in cardiology wards needing surgery and treatment.
 

Anaron

macrumors newbie
Jan 9, 2018
2
4
No thanks! I'll let the sheep use it./s

Seriously though, I've let my close family and friends know about it and instructed some of them to install the app and set it up. The more people that do their part, the more effective the exposure notification system will be. It's a damn shame that some people aren't taking it seriously or see it as some kind of fear-mongering thing.
 

DevNull0

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2015
2,457
4,802
" no contact tracing apps that take advantage of the tool have been released in the United States to date."

As of today, 1 in 70 people in the United States have tested positive for Covid-19 and nearly 1 in 100 has an active case right now. About 1 in 6500 people in Canada has an active case right now.
Is there actually any point in developing a tracing app in the US now? If you go outside, assume you were exposed to someone who has an active case.
 
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eflx

Suspended
May 14, 2020
108
110
COVID Alert has no way of knowing:

- your location - COVID Alert does not use GPS or location services
- your name or address
- the place or time you were near someone
- if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed


So ... "if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed" ... the app is 100% useless then? Blatant lies. The app does not and cannot do what is claimed unless it gathers personal information. It knows exactly the time you ARE near or were near someone; that's the entire point of the app.

Folks, don't be a sheep. The stats show less than 200 active cases across Canada ... at this point, the politicians have lost their minds and are either actively mocking the population or ... mocking the population. In Canada, they even released a news article stating individuals should use "glory holes" (no joke) to stay safe during COVID.

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 3.16.24 PM.png
 
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seadragon

Contributor
Mar 10, 2009
1,550
2,032
COVID Alert has no way of knowing:

- your location - COVID Alert does not use GPS or location services
- your name or address
- the place or time you were near someone
- if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed


So ... "if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed" ... the app is 100% useless then? Blatant lies. The app does not and cannot do what is claimed unless it gathers personal information. It knows exactly the time you ARE near or were near someone; that's the entire point of the app.

Folks, don't be a sheep. The stats show less than 200 active cases across Canada ... at this point, the politicians have lost their minds and are either actively mocking the population or ... mocking the population. In Canada, they even released a news article stating individuals should use "glory holes" (no joke) to stay safe during COVID.
 
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eflx

Suspended
May 14, 2020
108
110
One-time codes, IP addresses, API tokens and HashIDs
When an app user tests positive for COVID-19 in a PT that has onboarded to the app, they will obtain a one-time code that will be provided to them by their PT (how this occurs will depend on the PT). This code is provided to the PT by the Government of Canada and the Government of Canada does not know who that code is associated with (in other words who the person is who will receive this code). All the Government of Canada knows is that someone has tested positive for COVID-19. That said, the MOUs with the PTs who onboard to the app will include requirements to safeguard the codes, to ensure they are only retained as long as necessary and to delete them once obtained by the app user. Additionally, each province will protect the information in accordance with the requirements imposed on them by applicable provincial or territorial legislation.

What information is there to protect exactly, if no personal information is collected? This is misleading, as the individual themselves will be supplied with the code. In order to be supplied with a code, you must be tested for COVID at which point your information (outside of the app) is collected.

While using the app, no personal information is transmitted ... 100% truthful. It's the other points I just noted, that make this entirely untrue on a large scale. You're omitting the finer details. This is a major security breach.
 

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
1,838
1,886
tokyo
the countries and states issuing COVID apps that use the google/apple api are using tec to help solve a global health crisis.

where are you standing with regard to this?
are you on the side of helping to stem this and get back to actually living a life worth living?
or, are you the kind of person who simply can't see past your own small existence and not participate in solving this.


@seadragon posted the Canadian version explanation. its very similar to what we have in japan.
as is typical (for all things canadian !) , its done well and easy to understand and a model for best practices.
here are the key parts regarding privacy and how the info is actually obtained and used.

quote
What exactly is being communicated between participating users?
Each device with the app installed is sending out and listening for random codes called rolling proximity identifiers (RPIs) which are not static: On a daily basis, the Google/Apple layer automatically generates a random temporary exposure key (TEK). The TEK of the day then generates a new random ID ("rolling proximity identifier" (RPI)) every five to twenty minutes. It is these ever-changing random IDs that are shared with other devices.

The daily TEK generation and frequent RPI generation are design features with the purpose of minimizing the risk of re-identification of users. (In addition to this, they are designed to minimize data transfer to conserve bandwidth.) The RPIs are not identifiable and are not accessible to the app or transmitted to the key server. By design, the RPIs are meant to be public (they are shared to other devices via Bluetooth), and as such do not provide any form of identifying information in the absence of other information. Even if an RPI were intercepted by a device operated by a malicious actor, it would be an entirely meaningless number, and would not be linkable to a device without significant effort. TEKs are stored on the device, but may only be released to the key server in the case of a positive test result and explicit user consent.

When a user receives a positive COVID-19 test result, provincial/territorial (PT) health authorities who have adopted the app will provide them a one-time code and instructions on how to enter it into the app. The app will validate the one-time code and ask the user if they would like their past 14 days of TEKs to be sent to the key server. If the individual says yes, the app communicates with the Google/Apple layer. The Google/Apple layer asks a second time whether the individual consents to sending the past 14 days of TEKs to the key server. If the individual consents, the TEKs are sent to the key server, allowing other users they have come in contact with in the past 14 days to be notified, once their app has downloaded these keys. App users also have the option of uploading their diagnosis keys for the 14 days following receipt of a positive diagnosis, in the unfortunate scenario where an individual who has COVID-19 cannot self-quarantine (e.g. doesn't have sick leave; lives alone and has to buy groceries, etc.).

TEKs are generated once a day and expire after 14 days on the device. A TEK become a "diagnosis key" once released for upload to the key server. If the user consents to upload and transmit the diagnosis key, other users with whom they were in contact may receive a notification. We note that if an individual has had contact with a very limited number of individuals in the past 14 days, it's possible that the user who receives the notification may be able to associate it with an individual.

How are individuals notified of exposure to someone who tested positive?
On a pre-defined schedule (once every 4 to 24 hours depending on battery level, and when the app is opened), the app downloads new diagnosis keys from the key server. The app passes those diagnosis keys to the GAOS layer and the GAOS layer re-generates the rolling proximity identifiers (RPIs) from each of the provided diagnosis keys. The GAOS compares those regenerated RPIs to the list of locally-stored RPIs it has encountered in the last 14 days. If the GAOS layer finds that any of the re-generated and locally-stored RPIs match, and the exposure notification risk criteria are met (length of exposure, strength of signal, etc.), the GAOS layer sends a positive signal to the app. If the app receives a positive signal, it sends an exposure notification to the end-user.

The matching happens on the device. The key server has no way of knowing if two devices interacted. Other countries have added a voluntary flow to allow notified users to upload these notifications for public health analytics purposes, a function that is compliant with the terms of the Exposure Notification framework agreement - although, it remains to be seen whether such functionality would be added to the Canadian implementation to support PT or federal public health authority efforts. If such functionality were being considered (and note it is not at present), we would re-engage with the OPC.

When an app user tests positive for COVID-19 in a PT that has adopted the app, they will obtain a one-time code that will be provided to them by their PT (how this occurs will depend on the PT). This code is provided to the PT by the Government of Canada and the Government of Canada has no way of knowing who that code is associated with (in other words who the person is who will receive this code). All the Government of Canada knows is that someone in a given PT tested positive for COVID-19. That said, the MOUs with the PTs who adopt the app will include requirements to safeguard the codes, to ensure they are only retained as long as necessary and to delete them once obtained by the app user.

When individuals are notified of an exposure to a person who tested positive, the application will provide information, stored in the application, supplied by the provincial health authorities (e.g. information about locations to get tested).

endquote

thinking different doesnt mean acting irresponsibly.
earthrise-apollo_1024.jpg
 
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bodonnell202

macrumors 68000
Jan 5, 2016
1,528
1,691
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
COVID Alert has no way of knowing:

- your location - COVID Alert does not use GPS or location services
- your name or address
- the place or time you were near someone
- if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed


So ... "if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed" ... the app is 100% useless then? Blatant lies. The app does not and cannot do what is claimed unless it gathers personal information. It knows exactly the time you ARE near or were near someone; that's the entire point of the app.

Folks, don't be a sheep. The stats show less than 200 active cases across Canada ... at this point, the politicians have lost their minds and are either actively mocking the population or ... mocking the population. In Canada, they even released a news article stating individuals should use "glory holes" (no joke) to stay safe during COVID.

View attachment 939602
Not sure where you got that number from, but the current active cases in Canada is about 16,000, not 200. The worldwide death count is also at 680,000 and rising, plus all the “recovered” individuals with lung and/or heart damage.
 

chris_germany

macrumors newbie
Aug 2, 2020
1
0
You're afraid of an app that literally does nothing but sit in the background and log BT ID's of devices you've come in contact with. I think the fear porn is coming from the people who are against this app.
The german covid app is open source, so see for yourself...
 
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