Of course the Covid pandemic isn’t over for many people…
Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2022)
We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the Palantir’s Secret Plan to Crack the NHS. Deliberate radio spoofing to distort live video, a distressing insight into Silicon Vallay’s tech elite and of course Twitter finally bought.
To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
You are seeing aspects of this with the open wallet foundation bringing standards to the chaos, Competition wins and American smart devices adopting security/privacy labelling.
Solid adoption faces the cultural problem?
Ian thinks: Personal data stores make a lot of sense, especially for developers as this post makes clear. However its consistent with the discussions I have had with startups with “The tech culture in the U.S. is a lot less suspicious of companies that are looking to centralise their data, because they can see a way to make money off of that”
See the future of the public service here
Ian thinks: Following the personal data store dev discussion above, its a lot clearer for public interest companies who want to innovate and provide a different proposition from profit driven companies.
Mozilla’s unknown influence is very chilling
Ian thinks: This short documentary is pretty powerful and highlights how much worst the dumpster fire is outside North America and Europe. Well worth the 12 minutes of your time. Also worth mentioning Mozilla’s little mini-series is fun, educational and instantly shareable. I personally have shared a few with some less technical friends and its been well received.
Hacking google mini series
Ian thinks: Although a big advert for Google, there are parts which are worth while watching from a cyber-security point of view.
OFCOM is looking into cloud services, iot and messaging
Ian thinks: This is good news as the national regulator does have a lot of power to work in favour of the public, but has spent too much time focused on traditional media.
All the Unfinished videos are online now
Ian thinks: The Unfinished live conference has caused quite a splash since its inception. A lot of the talks are worth re-watching and if not seen before, you are in for a treat.
Shannon needs to look away from the mainstream
Ian thinks: Shannon is no longer excited by Technology, but through the post its clear she is focused on the big mainstream tech. Looking away form the mainstream into the indie & niches could be what she’s missing?
Enable our cookies, pay or get lost
Ian thinks: We all knew it was coming, but to see it happen in the EU first was unexpected by myself. Expect many more to follow suit, a high profile court case and hopefully a renewed look at micro-payments.
Bluesky discussed and dissected
Ian thinks: There was a small announcement about Bluesky coming soon, but I found at least the first part of this video with Kevin Marks and Jeff Jarvis looking through the AT protocol quite revealing of whats coming.
Find the archive here
Playing by the rules in a pandemic
For the last 5 days I have been self isolating due to coming in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid19. It was a team mate during outdoor Volleyball on Wednesday last week, so the risk was low especially because I was using hand sanitizer and still avoid touching my face, etc.
We only found out on Thursday they were positive and then on Saturday I got the NHS track & trace notification, ironically just after coming back from Moss side Volleyball.
I have been using the rapid testing for Covid for a long while every 3-4 days and logging my negative tests results with the NHS. Regardless, I’ve been self-isolating and happy the weather hasn’t been so hot making working from home bearable.
The thing I have found (lets say) interesting is, my phone with the Contact tracing/Track and Trace app was on while in the park playing (in my bag on the ground). While other players did not, although we all knew the person had tested positive. Long story short, the NHS finally got in touch and told the rest of the team to self-isolate but a good 3 days later. The others only needed to isolate for 5 days instead of my 8 days. It makes sense but…
…I find it interesting and reminds me of the DRM discussion of how DRM only effects those who play by the rules.
The basic problem is that DRM is trying to keep honest people honest
Before you message me about the difficulty of epidemiology. I know I know, trust me I know!
This is also not judgement/shade on my fellow volleyball players. Someone from a coffee shop messaged a friend I was with, saying a staff member had tested positive. My friend decided to self-isolate while I decided not to because I hadn’t gotten a alert from the NHS (yes I do check in on the app every single time). If I had, I would have self-isolated like my friend, while still doing my rapid tests every 3-4 days.
I just find it all interesting, the judgement calls and personal decisions made during a pandemic.
Hooray! I have big plans starting with Brunch and maybe a trip to Toolstation to get some bits for my new wifi changes. Exciting eh?!
Embedded Inequality in the vaccine development process
I knew it was bad, but Vox spell out the embedded inequality. Remember for all the people being vaccinated in one country, it will never be over till most of the world is vaccinated. Vaccine nationalism needs to end!
In related news I got my call up for the vaccine… I was thinking it would be interesting if there was a system like the OLPC (remember that?) get one, donate one. I know it wouldn’t scale but it would at least focus us away from vaccine nationalism.
Why NHS’s world-beating app was always a going to be awful but 10+ million!
Even if you forget the thoughts are coming from a ex-googler who has interests elsewhere this blog is pretty damming and I can imagine how the NHS really bought their own nonsense about it being world beating. Of course in the end they had to back pedal and use the Google & Apple decentralised contact tracing api.
But there are parts even I was shocked at…
It worked 4% of the time.
Thats not even funny, its not just unreliable but a total waste of time. Even if thats exaggerated, double would still be a bad joke at 8%
The British effort did find workarounds that most other developers could not: They used “keepalives” (messages sent by one device to another) to circumvent restrictions on having apps in the background on iOS. Notifications were sent between two Apple devices running the app to keep the connection between the devices alive and therefore having the ability to detect each other’s keys. The NHS tried to develop with a hacker’s mentality and shared its progress through its GitHub page.
There is a reason why keepalives are a bad idea, battery is one of the number one reasons why people find their smartphones deeply frustrating. Having a app keeping the system awake is just a terrible news. Although I assume as most people are staying at home, they will be closer to a charger at least
in May it was reported by the Financial Times that the British government was simultaneously exploring a solution with Apple and Google’s decentralized system as a backup, indicating that, even within the government, there were doubts that the centralized effort could work.
And this is when I heard they were testing both systems, leading to the fact they were going to drop the centralised app soon. This would be fine but…
The development of the app has taken months and cost millions of pounds from taxpayers…
…around $15 million spent…
I have no words to sum how I feel about the UK government throwing this money down the drain in the middle of a pandemic where people are losing their jobs and dying. Its not just wasteful, its incredibly disgraceful and pretty much sums up the UK government right now.
NHS sees sense and adopts the decentralised model
After all the discussions about the NHS’s contact tracing app being centralised (you would have thought Germany’s decision would convinced them), what on earth did they think they were doing, finally they have changed their minds. I’m sure the pressure from the likes of the open rights group had something to do with it.
As I heard they had worked on two apps and of course the centralised one was a logistical flop. Now the government had to make the painful U turn.
Ouch! What a joke…!
Well at least they didn’t see the joke through to the bitter end.
Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing api
Here is the only API details in Android…
Of course without an app its not active… Manchester Futurists talked about this on the latest podcast btw.