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Almost as sudden as the pandemic by the coronavirus, has come into the public arena the discussion on convenience and legality of the use of the tracking of mobile phones and contacts among them as a weapon to combat the infection, although some experts warn that previous experiences are not much less determinants and point to other options that are less technological.
In the field of European Union a group of specialists current debate on the desirability of the implementation of this type of technological solutions -applications on mobile phones – and the need to share anonymously and in the aggregate the data mobility available to the telecommunications companies, at least within the Schengen area.
One of these specialists, the engineer of alicante, and high commissioner of the government for the strategy against the Covid-19, Núria Oliver, explains that perhaps the use of applications for mobile telephony is not as determinante, because while it can be a useful tool if its use is a majority, what is certain is that to achieve its implementation is still a challenge even in countries in which the use of technology is extremely intensive, as Singapore or South Korea.
In these countries, the use of this type of applications is reduced by 10-15% population, Oliver explains, well for lack of will, by ignorance, because the phones do not allow for this or for any other reason.
in Addition, there are other complications strictly technical, and is that bluetooth, the technology that should underpin the connections between mobile phones of different users, “it is inaccurate, have noise and gives rise to false positive and negative”.
“Another critical challenge would be the population to update their operating systems, provided that your mobile is permitted to do so, because you need a new functionality -for the exchange of identifiers encrypted when the phones are near – that both Google (Android) and Apple are developing it,” explains Oliver.
“All of this taking into account that, according to a recent study, only a fourth part of the smart phones around the world you are able to use that standard for data exchange of low demand through energy bluetooth,” he adds.
Although all of the above were fixed, the tool would remain exposed to the malicious attack of hackers (hacker) or trolls (users without an identity) that could put phones in any vehicle and drive with them to generate false contacts”.
For these reasons, Oliver raises solutions low tech or low technological intensity based in large measure on the survey on the evolution of the coronavirus that promotes the Generalitat Valenciana.
“According to the results obtained, between 70 and 80% of the infected by coronavirus claims to have had contact with another infected person
-co-worker, patient, client, family, etc-, that is to say, the majority know the likely source of your infection, and this data can be important.”
“Perhaps it would be easier for your doctor to give you a few coupons, or an alphanumeric code that each person who tests positive can share with those people who you think may be infected,” says this engineer.
“Personally, I notice a certain bias technocentric in this kind of discussions, as if somehow a app tracking to be the great panacea to solve everything. If we look towards the asian countries already mentioned, we realize that the technology is one more element of a strategy that needs to incorporate other elements: test, quarantine, and methods low tech“.
And at this point is where another bottle neck, because “what is worth knowing -one way or another – that I have been able to infect 500 people in 12 days if not I can make the test to all or place them in a quarantine in conditions.”
So, Oliver insists that “it is absolutely necessary to perform test mass, is logic, and if we look towards the countries that are having success with their measures, are the ones that have this capability, as well as a suitable infrastructure to establish quarantines specific”.
“The expectation-concludes the expert on big data– is that the virus continues to circulate while you do not have a vaccine or a high percentage of immunized population“, which must adopt strategies of confinement and openness with the goal of maintaining the health system below the level of saturation.
May 3, 2020
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