今天的华盛顿邮政故事在Apple和Google对Covid-19曝光通知项目的联合努力, from reporters Reed Albergotti and Drew Harwell, is the worst story I’ve seen in the Post in memory. It’s so atrociously bad — factually wrong and one-sided in opinion — that it should be retracted.

从标题开始:“Apple和Google正在构建病毒跟踪系统。卫生官员说这几乎没用。” It’s not a “virus-tracking system”, and the health officials the Post talked to don’t know what they’re talking about.

But as the tech giants have revealed more details, officials now say the software will be of little use. Due to strict rules imposed by the companies, the system will notify smartphone users if they’ve potentially come into contact with an infected person, but it won’t share any data with health officials or reveal where those meetings took place.

Notifying people when they’ve potentially come into contact with an infected person sounds useful to me. It’s true that by design, Apple and Google’s system does not track location. It’s true that location information would be potentially useful to health officials. But the exposure notifications alone are inherently useful, even without location data attached.

The gist of Apple and Google’s project is that it attempts to balance privacy with the usefulness of tracking potential exposure. It’s right there in the name of the project: “隐私保护联系跟踪“。这篇故事的帖子来源似乎希望一个系统根本不符合隐私。我希望这是夸大其词。

But Apple and Google have refused, arguing that letting the apps collect location data or loosening other smartphone rules would undermine people’s privacy. The companies are also concerned that easing the restrictions around apps’ Bluetooth use would drain phone battery life, which could irritate customers. That unbending stance has led some health authorities to abandon hopes of building a fully functioning contact-tracing app.

“不平衡的立场”是对苹果和谷歌的愿望的一个相当苛刻的描述,不要“破坏人民隐私”或“排水手机寿命”。这不是一个“不平衡的立场”。设计一个人们实际安装和使用的系统的表格赌注。想象一下,试图将公众销售在一个破坏他们隐私或过度排出的手机电池的系统上 - 更不用说既有系统。

But Helen Nissenbaum, a professor of information science and director of the数字生命倡议康奈尔大学,称苹果和谷歌的use of privacy to defend their refusal to allow public health officials access to smartphone technology a “flamboyant smokescreen.” She said it was ironic that the two companies had for years tolerated the mass collection of people’s data but were now preventing its use for a purpose that is “critical to public health.”


Nissenbaum obviously has no idea whatsoever how this system is designed to work, despite the fact that Apple and Google have publisheda succinct 7-page FAQthat explains it in simple, easy-to-understand terms. It seems clear that neither the reporters from the Post nor Nissenbaum have read that FAQ, or if they did, that they don’t understand it. (Or willfully ignored it.)


And how in the world did “At least they’re constrained by laws” make it into this story? Nissenbaum believes Apple and Google arenotconstrained by laws? That will be news to both companies’ legal compliance departments, who I presume will soon be laid off.

The Apple-Google system uses the short-range Bluetooth antennas in people’s smartphones to log when two people come into contact for a short period of time, but not where that contact took place. An alert is sent if one of the people tests positive for a coronavirus infection, but that information is not shared with public health officials or contact-tracing teams.

这与准确的描述 - 有点,如果你眯着眼睛 - 但省略帖子是必不可少的。信息不共享automaticallywith health officials, but if you opt into the system and get a notification that you’ve potentially been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you can then share that information with your doctor. Only doctors and registered health officials can confirm that a user in this system has tested positive for COVID-19 — otherwise, it would be open season for pranksters.


This is nonsense. Smartphones comply with a veritable mountain of regulations and laws around the world. If you use an iPhone just look in Settings → General → Legal & Regulatory.

“他们正在行使主权权力。这是疯了一样的,美国经济自由项目研究总监Matt Stoller表示,华盛顿智库致力于降低垄断权力的坦克。苹果和谷歌已经“为整个世界决定”,“他补充说:”这不是公众做出的决定。......你有一个私人政府,正在制定你的社会,而不是民主政府能够做出这些选择。“

This quote is what’s crazy. Again, this guy Stoller clearly has no idea what he’s talking about. Apple and Google deciding how their operating systems work, in compliance with all existing laws, all around the world, is not “exercising sovereign power”. No one here is alleging that Apple or Google are doing anything even vaguely illegal. They’re not toeing some sort of line, they’re not taking advantage of any sort of loopholes.

如果苹果和谷歌做了什么似乎希望他们能够做到的 - 那些您与政府卫生官员自动联系的每个人的位置数据 - 他们几乎肯定地be breaking all sorts of laws around the world. The whole point of Europe’s well-intentioned but overzealous GDPR law — 88 dense pages in PDF — is, quoting from its preamble, “Natural persons should have control of their own personal data.” That’s exactly the point of Apple and Google’s system — and seemingly exactly the opposite of what every source in this Post story thinks Apple and Google should do.

Also, regarding Stoller’s advocacy for democracy, good luck finding public support for a system that turns phones into surveillance devices that report anything at all automatically to the government, let alone something as sensitive as who we’ve been in contact with and where we’ve been. I’ll grant that one can make a case that a system where government health officials have access to such data from our phones, automatically, could be useful in tracking COVID-19 infections. But try getting popular support for it. And no one I’ve seen has made the case that such a system isnecessaryfor using phones in the aid of contact tracing.


The companies have argued that limiting the data the apps use could bolster their adoption rate, because people may not trust or use an app that logs their location for later use by public health authorities.


But some parts of the U.S., including Apple and Google’s home state, say the restrictions have rendered the apps effectively useless.

None of these apps are out yet, because the APIs in iOS and Android aren’t out yet.

Contact tracers today use phone calls and interviews to track people’s movements, and rely almost entirely on people’s memory. Minute-by-minute location logs recorded by people’s phones, some officials have argued, could ease that burden by providing a more precise and automated way to track new outbreaks.

In what other context would the above paragraph pass the sniff test? “Some officials” — unnamed, unsourced — are arguing that the government should enjoy “minute-by-minute location logs recorded by people’s phones” and this is givenzero pushback在新闻报道中。在此参数上没有推送,描述了一种情况,即潜在隐私惨败的定义。

“这些应用程序的局限性广泛,”加州大学旧金山大学医学助理教授Mike Reid表示,他领导努力在国家培训联系跟踪器。“我认为他们对大多数人口发挥着重要作用。”

The contact tracers, he said, will be using software made by Salesforce and Accenture to help reach patients by phone and are trained on how to protect sensitive patient information.

“We go to pains to minimize the amount of data we take from people and we ask consent from people we’re talking to on the phone. We go to considerable lengths to ensure there are strong technical controls to ensure the anonymization of our platforms,” he said. “Can you say the same thing about these big tech companies? I’m not sure.”



也 - 也是! — we now have someone who will be training contact tracers in California, who voluntarily went on the record that Salesforce and Accenture are more worthy of trust for contract-tracing privacy protection (with detailed location data!) than the Apple/Google proposal. Goddamn.

与苹果和谷歌的方法,“我们overcompensated for privacy and still created other risks and not solved the problem,” said Ashkan Soltani, the former chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission. “I’d personally be more comfortable if it were a health agency that I trusted and there were legal protections in place over the use of the data and I knew it was operated by a dedicated security team.”

It is legit amazing to seeAshkan Soltani, of all people, say “we’ve overcompensated for privacy.”



Here is Apple and Google’s joint announcement。What exactly did either company overpromise? Did a bunch of idiots who weren’t involved, didn’t read the specs, and don’t even understand the proposal jump to overpromise-y conclusions? Sure. But how is that Apple or Google’s fault?

The proximity-tracing systems are “a bright shiny object,” he said, “but right now they’re doing nothing to stop the pandemic.”

Maybe because they’renot fucking out yet?Hallelujah,圣洁的狗屎 - 泰诺在哪里?