Catching Up on COVID-Tech: news & analysis

Here you can find (and contribute to!) a (hopefully) weekly roundup of relevant news on COVID-mitigating or -controlling technology.

The buzz surrounding contact tracing has simmered down and attention is now shifting from new ways to map contagion to new approaches of ‘proving’ people are vaccinated /not contagious (to access services, attend gatherings, etcetera).

It would be best for the review facility to focus our attention on inherent privacy, security and ethical considerations of new emerging technologies, while not losing sight of less discussed but still very much used COVID-tech (think of the ongoing GAEN-assessments), in this topic I (and hopefully you as well :wink: ) will try to inform you as best as possible. Posts sharing news will be brief for readability, reply with questions, analysis and considerations as you please. I will share these updates in the various chat channels as well.

While EU (and Great-Britain) are developing vaccination certificates, US rules out federal vaccine passport or vaccination database for reasons of privacy and civil rights → Covid: US rules out federal vaccine passports - BBC News. WHO also advises against vaccine passports → https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/18/who-advises-against-vaccine-passports-as-eu-debates-green-pass

Google and Apple block update for British/Welsh contact tracing app from app stores due to new location logging feature → Google and Apple block update to England’s contact-tracing app over privacy violation

Ethical analysis of contact tracing apps (in favour of GAEN-supporting ones) → [2103.10585v1] The evolving ecosystem of COVID-19 contact tracing applications

Two days late, just for anyone who missed it: AppCensus researchers say 100s of preinstalled apps on Android-devices have access to potentially sensitive information stored by contact tracing apps in system logs (Radically Open Security does not consider the mentioned information as critical and states there is more vulnerable data in these logs) → Google Promised Its Contact Tracing App Was Completely Private—But It Wasn’t – The Markup

Chaos Computer Club demands end to German federal funding for Luca-contact tracing app due to flaws in spec, implementation, licensing & more → Luca contact tracing app: CCC calls for an immediate moratorium - European Digital Rights (EDRi)

Anti-vaxxer hijacks QR-codes at COVID check-in sites → Anti-Vaxxer Hijacks QR Codes At COVID-19 Check-In Sites - Slashdot

UK intends to use their own national health service app as a COVID passport for travel abroad → COVID-19: NHS app to be used as coronavirus passport for international travel, Grant Shapps confirms | Politics News | Sky News (not definitively decided though: Confusion over use of NHS App as Covid passport)

European parliament voted to introduce COVID-passports → European Parliament votes to introduce EU Covid-19 passports - with some changes

Includes some news on Dutch COVID-apps (unfortunately only in Dutch):

CoronaMelder-app will again notify users of exposure after being turned off for 48 hours due to AppCensus-warnings on GAEN-access to system logs. Ministry of Health considers Play services updates 211290003 and 211515000 to not contain this bug anymore → Tweakers - Wij stellen technologie op de proef and Voortgang incident Google en Apple Framework | Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal

“Corona opt-in” that allows Dutch medical emergency posts to request medical information from general practitioners is still without legal basis & unknown to patients → Corona-opt-in dat medische gegevens openstelt nog altijd zonder juridische basis - Security.NL

Abuse of CoronaCheck-app (that can prove you are tested and recovered/vaccinated) will be fined for €95, for example when someone tries to enter an event with someone else’s test/vaccination proof → Boete van 95 euro bij misbruik van CoronaCheck-app - Security.NL

EDRi-member epicenter.works warns that EU Digital Green Certificate can divide society and expose certificate holders to far-reaching surveillance, pleading for offline verification & strict application limits. Negotiations still underway, final regulation expected in May → EU Parliament adopts the Covid Pass: risks for data protection and new forms of discrimination - European Digital Rights (EDRi)

Study impact different proximity detection ranges of contact tracing apps states that promixity detection range should cover the range of a disease spread and much wider in certain cases, which is not what BlueTooth Low Energy might be best for → How detection ranges and usage stops impact digital contact tracing effectiveness for COVID-19 | Scientific Reports

(In Dutch) European contact tracing apps like CoronaMelder have been used in 1/25 COVID infections and provide (too) limited research data, conclude journalists of Die Zeit, VRT NWS, Le Monde and Investigative Desk. Downloads of these apps were highest in Ireland (51%), Finland (41%) and Denmark (39%) → Maar één op vijfentwintig besmette Europeanen meldt dit via een Corona-app - The Investigative Desk

Provisional deal for digital covid certificates in EU. Agreement only concerns info that certificate will contain, not the travel conditions member states can impose → EU reaches agreement on European Covid Certificate for travel

Fake COVID vaccine and test certificate market is growing → Fake Covid vaccine and test certificate market is growing, researchers say | Coronavirus | The Guardian

Keeping with the theme of this thread, I actually caught COVID and was unfortunately offline for a while to recover. The most prominent news you are probably already aware of is that the European Parliament and Council agreed on COVID passes for travel (should you not have, more details here: Negotiators clinch deal on coronavirus certificates – POLITICO). Some other relevant news that you may have missed since this below:

A quick update on recent COVID tech news (which was scant):