Each post details an organizational action taken to improve the digital future while responding to the current crisis.
China’s Virus Apps May Outlast the Outbreak, Stirring Privacy Fears
With the disease there mostly under control, officials are looking for new uses for the government software that’s now on many phones.
No to California Bill on Verified Credentials of COVID-19 Test Results
EFF opposes a California bill, A.B. 2004, that would authorize the issuers of COVID-19 test results to do so with digital verifiable credentials. This bill would take us a step towards national digital identification, create information security risks, exacerbate social inequities in access to smartphones and COVID-19 tests, endorse one solution to an evolving technological problem, and fail to limit who may view credentials of test results
Change model: letter of opposition co-signed with ACLU of California
Facebook launches Shops to bring more businesses online during the pandemic
A major new push into e-commerce will bring an Instagram shopping tab, shoppable live streams, and more. Facebook Shops begin rolling out today.
In a live stream, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said expanded e-commerce would be important to begin rebuilding the economy while the pandemic continues. “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time.”
The big platforms may have an even bigger role in retail and e-commerce, after COVID-19
Change model: Seeing an opportunity, or sensing good timing for a move they have been developing for a while, a big player enters new part of the market.
Australia Wants Facebook And Google To Pay News Outlets For Their Content. Could Governments Around The World Follow?
As the coronavirus pandemic decimates the economics of the news industry, the Australian government is stepping in. It may not be the only one.
Australia Moves to Force Google and Facebook to Compensate Media Outlets
The decision, announced after talks on a voluntary system stalled, is part of a global push to save local news organizations.
Australia is early out of the gate with a plan to require Facebook and Google to help pay for news content they link to, as a way of sharing advertising revenue..
The explorations and negotiations leading to this proposed policy shift were underway prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic (and its acceleration of the crisis in news) has added urgency.
Change model: direct regulatory action
Intended goal: support legacy news operations and local and national journalism
Twitter Will Allow Employees To Work At Home Forever
Two months into working from home, Twitter makes it permanent for some.
Is this a trend other firms in tech will follow? Will there be similar moves in other sectors? We saw the term “remote-first” used in an article this week. Like “mobile first”, there is likely to be some momentum in this direction for a while.
BREAKING: After Axing 135 Staff, Andela Will Go Fully Remote & Give Jobs To Non-Employees
After cutting its staff base by 10 percent with the axing of 135 staff, Andela is going fully remote and giving jobs to non-employees.
COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Review: Exit through the App Store?
A rapid evidence review of the technical considerations and societal implications of using technology to transition from the COVID-19 crisis
Change model: advocacy and policy briefs
Focus: discouraging approaches to immunity certification that will erode privacy, stratify society, and invite discrimination
MIT Technology Review COVID Tracing Tracker
There’s a deluge of apps that detect your covid-19 exposure, often with little transparency. Our Covid Tracing Tracker project will document them.
The Project will track and compare various contact tracing apps using five categories:
- Is it voluntary?
- Are there limitations on how the data gets used?
- Will data be destroyed after a period of time?
- Is data collection minimized?
- Is the effort transparent?
MIT Technology Review, 7 May 2020
Change model: better and more comparative information to inform decision-making.
India is forcing people to use its covid app, unlike any other democracy
Millions of Indians have no choice but to download the country’s tracking technology if they want to keep their jobs or avoid reprisals.
There will be too many stories about the Google/Apple proximity tracing app to list/highlight them all. I’ll update this page from time to time (new items on top) as new developments emerge. If there is anything specifically future focused, like the promise to limit the API’s duration, I will consider a different post.
Exposure Notification API launches to support public health agencies
Apple and Google’s Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android.
Apple and Google release first seed of COVID-19 exposure notification API for contact tracing app developers – TechCrunch
Apple and Google have released the first version of their exposure notification API, which they previously called the contact tracing API. This is a developer-focused release, and is a seed of the API in development, with the primary intent of collecting feedback from developers who will be using th…
Coronavirus: An EU approach for efficient contact tracing
Coronavirus: An EU approach for efficient contact tracing apps to support gradual lifting of confinement measures
“Welcoming the toolbox, Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “Contact tracing apps to limit the spread of coronavirus can be useful, especially as part of Member States’ exit strategies. However, strong privacy safeguards are a pre-requisite for the uptake of these apps, and therefore their usefulness. While we should be innovative and make the best use of technology in fighting the pandemic, we will not compromise on our values and privacy requirements.”“European Union Press Release 16 April 2020
Change Model: Standards and common code
Apple and Google pledge to shut down coronavirus tracker when pandemic ends
representatives from each company pledged for the first time to disable the service after the outbreak had been sufficiently contained. Such a decision would have to be made on a region-by-region basis, and it’s unclear how public health authorities would reach such a determination. However, the engineers stated definitively that the APIs were not intended to be maintained indefinitely.
“As part of the change, the daily key is now referred to as the “temporary tracing key,” and the long-term tracing key included in the original specification is no longer present.”The Verge
Change Model: Code designed for obsolescence?