Content type: Examples
19th May 2020
Academics have disclosed today a new vulnerability in the Bluetooth wireless protocol, broadly used to interconnect modern devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart IoT devices. The vulnerability, codenamed BIAS (Bluetooth Impersonation AttackS), impacts the classic version of the Bluetooth protocol, also known as Basic Rate / Enhanced Data Rate, Bluetooth BR/EDR, or just Bluetooth Classic. The BIAS attack The BIAS security flaw resides in how devices handle the link key,…
Content type: Examples
13th May 2020
In February, before the pandemic was declared, the Myanmar Post and Telecommunications Department set a deadline of April 30 for citizens to register their mobile phone SIMs, a move the PTD said was necessary to enhance the security of electronic transactions and cut down crime. The PTD issued an official reminder on April 16, and confirmed on April 29 that other than websites and applications for registration operators would be required to block calls and data for unregistered users on the…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
Police will be barred from accessing metadata collected by Australia's proposed coronavirus contact tracing app, which will be able to identify when users have been 1.5 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes, Australia's government services minister, Stuart Robert, and prime minister, Scott Morrison, have promised. Only state health investigators will access the data, even though experts say that the 2018 telecommunications laws potentially allow law enforcement access. Critics are…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
The Turkish Health Ministry's Pandemic Isolation Tracking Project is using mobile device location data to track patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and ensure they obey the government's quarantine requirements. Violators will be sent warning messages and their information will be shared with the police if they do not return to isolation. Law enforcement officers can access individuals' information during road stops. Before launching the system, the Communications Directorate obtained permissions…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
When the phone belonging to an American University student in Taiwan, who was subject to 14 days' quarantine after returning from Europe, ran out of battery power, in less than hour he had received phone calls from four different local administrative units, a text message notifying him he would be arrested if he had broken quarantine, and a visit from two police officers. The phone tracking system uses phone signals to triangulate locations of the more than 6,000 people subject to home…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
By May 11, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, working with EFPL and ETH Zurich, will launch a secure, decentralised system for contact tracing developed by the Decentralised Privacy-Preserving-Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) international consortium, whose Swiss partners are Ubique and PocketCampus. Other international partners include UCl, KU Leuven, TU Delft, the University of Oxford, and the Universirty of Torino. The system has been posted to Github as an open source protocol and will…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
A data breach that posted 100 to 200 names, email addresses, and encrypted passwords online was found in the Belgian Covid-19 Alert! app, one of seven candidates for adoption by the Dutch government. The app identifies phones that have been close to each other via Bluetooth signals and can send them a message when one owner tests positive. The developers said the data leaked from a database relating to another project when the source code was hurriedly placed online for government scrutiny.…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
Thousands of Israelis have been ordered into quarantine without any right of appeal based on cellphone tracking that may be wrong because phone geolocation is insufficiently fine-grained to tell the difference between two people being in the same room and being separated by a door when dropping off and receiving a food delivery. Numerous agencies are performing the kind of tracking formerly carried out only by the domestic security agency, Shin Bet. Among them are Shin Bet itself, which is…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
In a sharp drop from the beginning of Canada's lockdown, after two months only one in six Canadians left their home on weekends compared to one in three at the beginning. The marketing company Environics Analytics compiled the report by analysing a database of anonymised location data from 2.3 million mobile phones and looking for people who went at least 100 metres beyond their home postal code for a minimum of 30 minutes on at least one weekend day, and used demographic information tied to…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
Three days after announcing Germany would adopt the centralised Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) standard for contact tracing, the country's chancellery minister Helge Braun and health minister Jens Spahn announced they would instead use the decentralised approach backed by Apple, Google, and other European countries. While both standards rely on Bluetooth connections between nearby phones, PEPP-PT would have required Apple's cooperation to implement, and the company…
Content type: Examples
28th April 2020
The regulations brought in to curb the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa included directions published by the minister of communications and digital technologies that critics claimed violated the country's constitution. On the plus side, the regulations ordered service providers to ensure continued provision of internet and telecommunications services, and enabled temporary licensing of spectrum bands, which could increase internet capacity. However, the regulations also make publishing a…
Content type: Examples
22nd April 2020
While the agency that manages residence permits, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, is closed, Israel has instructed Palestinians seeking to verify whether their permits to remain in Israel are still valid to download the app Al Munasiq, which grants the military access to their cellphone data. The app would allow the army to track the Palestinians' cellphone location, as well as access their notifications, downloaded and saved files, and the device's camera.  Source…
Content type: Examples
22nd April 2020
As part of Mexico City's March 31 lockdown, which shut all shops except those relating to health, food, and essential services, telephone companies will provide access to cell phone antennas to enable the Digital Agency of Public Innovation to monitor movement and personal contact. The information will be aggregated by antenna and anonymised for analysis. Source: https://cdmx.gob.mx/portal/articulo/cierre-de-centros-comerciales-por-emergencia-sanitaria Writer: Mexico City government…
Content type: Examples
22nd April 2020
North Macedonia is the first country in the Western Balkans to launch a contact-tracing app. The government has stressed that the Bluetooth-based app, StopKorona!, complies with all legal privacy requirements. The app follows a decentralised design, so that users maintain full control over their data, which is deleted after 14 days; if they test positive for the virus they can choose to send their location history to the Ministry of Health so that their contacts can be alerted. The app was…
Content type: Examples
22nd April 2020
India's COVID-19 tracker app, Aarogya Setu, was downloaded 50 million times in the first 13 days it was available. Developed by the National Informatics Centre a subsidiary of the Ministry of Electronics and IT, the app is available on both Android and iOS smartphones, and uses GPS and Bluetooth to provide information on whether the phone has been near an infected person. Users provide a mobile number, health status, and other credentials, and must keep both location services and Bluetooth…
Content type: Examples
22nd April 2020
The Australian government's planned contact tracing app will reportedly be based on Singapore's TraceTogether, which relies on Bluetooth connections to detect other phones in range and log the results, so that if a phone user tests positive for COVID-19 and consents their close contacts can be alerted by uploading the logs to a centralised server. A second app, ConTrace, is in development for the Public Transport Information and Priority System; the prototype requires no personal information…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
The Department of Health in the US state of Kansas is tracking residents' locations via a platform called Unacast, which compares aggregated GPS mobile phone data from before and after the implementation of social distancing and grades each county on its compliance. As of April 1, 45 of 105 Kansas counties had received an F rating, and the state as a whole had managed a C. Unacast says the data it has access to is updated every other day and publishes updated ratings on all 50 US states.…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
The city of Moscow is planning to use smartphone geolocation functions to track foreign tourists' movements through the city to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 after Russia reopens its borders. Moscow accounts for two-thirds of all cases in the country. Moscow City Hall is considering a system that would provide daily updates on tourists' movements using their SIM card data and show when residents come into contact with them; it is already buying location data from Russia's three biggest telecom…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
The Norwegian contact tracing app, Infection Stop, relies on a centralised database to store users' GPS locations for 30 days, like its Chinese counterpart. Sumula, the company that developed the app, claims is necessary because of technical limitations in Apple's smartphone operating system iOS. Simula has rejected using Bluetooth, like Singapore's TraceTogether, because to work on Apple's iPhones the tracker app would have to be in the forefront in order to be able to use Bluetooth to send,…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
In order to enforce mandatory 14-day quarantine orders, Kenyan authorities have been tracking mobile phones of people suspected to have COVID-19. Also in Kenya, police enforcement efforts have led to several deaths: three died of injuries from being beaten, one, a 13-year-old boy, was hit by a bullet. Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-52214740 Writer: Dickens Olewe Publication: BBC News
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
The Kazakhstani ministry of health requires the 8,000 or so Kazakhstani citizens currently under quarantine to use the SmartAstana tracking app, which enables officials to ensure that they remain in isolation. By contrast, for the city of Almaty the ministry of the interior relies on video surveillance technology called Sergek, produced by the local telecommunications firm Korkem Telecom to find people who break quarantine . So far, these two cases are the only examples of the government…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
The Guatemalan government is using the app Alerta Guate to spread public health information, which was created by the Chicago-registered company In-telligent LLC. The app is allowed to collect each user's email address, social media account handles, age, personal interests, and geographic location, and asks permission to access files, calls, and audio, among others. The president has said he wants to ensure that citizens keep the app installed so it can be used later for other purposes such as…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
As part of its new state of emergency law, Cambodia's national assembly has granted the country's leader, Hun Sen, new powers to surveille telecommunications, control the press and social media, restrict freedom of movement and of assembly, seize private property, and enforce quarantine orders, as well as enact other measures "deemed appropriate and necessary". Amnesty International called the legislation indefensible and a concentration of unchecked power.  Source: https://www.theguardian.com…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
On request, Vodafone Australia, which has 6 million subscribers nationwide, handed the mobile phone location data of several million Australians to the federal and New South Wales governments to help them monitor whether people are following the social distancing restrictions. The governments, medical experts, and media had previously used the data collected by transport apps such as CityMapper, but the number who use that one app is necessarily limited. Vodafone claimed the data was anonymised…
Content type: Examples
16th April 2020
Google has begun publishing "COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports", which analyse the location data it collects from smartphones to create maps of aggregated changes in the movement of populations around the world. Google claims the data is "anonymised" via differential privacy, and suggests that governments can use the results of its analysis to understand not only whether people are travelling but where, so they can adapt transport policies to ensure adequate distancing. It is unclear how…
Content type: Examples
15th April 2020
Apple and Google have announced a partnership to enable governments and health agencies to use Bluetooth for proximity-based contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus while preserving user privacy and security. The effort is due to begin with the May release of APIs that will enable Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities to interoperate. The two companies will go on to build Bluetooth-based contact tracing into their underlying platforms. The…
Content type: Examples
12th April 2020
The government has issued a substantial rewrite of a controversial proposal to track people using their phones and other devices in the bid to contain Covid-19. AmaBhungane, an investigative journalism newsroom, said the first “directions” – issued last week by the minister of communications – raised "serious concerns for their vagueness and lack of privacy protections”. The new regulations provide more judicial oversight, restrict the purpose to contact tracing, and aim to ensure that…
Content type: Examples
12th April 2020
A Telegram user reports that Uzbekistan authorities are confiscating mobile phones, audio/video equipment, bank cards, and other storage media from those in quarantine, claiming that the move is necessary to limit the spread of fear and disinformation about the virus.  Source: https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/how-is-central-asia-handling-covid-19/ Writer: Colleen Wood Publication: The Diplomat
Content type: Examples
12th April 2020
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with local and state governments, are using location data collected by the mobile advertising industry from millions of cellphones in order to better understand how Americans are moving during the COVID-19 pandemic and how those movements affect the spread of the disease. The goal is to create a portal that federal, state, and local officials can use to study geolocation from up to 500 US cities and see which retail…
Content type: Examples
12th April 2020
Israel intends to deploy a cellphone tracking system developed in Taiwan by Chunghwa Telecom, which launched it on February 1 in Taiwan, where it was used to track the subscribers of Taiwan's five network operators. To begin, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control compiled a list of people who need to be placed in quarantine or home isolation after coming into close contact with COVID-19 patients or travellers returning from high-risk countries. After local health and civil affairs departments…