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Somewhere over the rainbow – on the other side

By Jon Chesterson  

Point in case once again, about the redundancy of this COVIDSafe app. Your mobile phone data is shared through Bluetooth with someone you have co-located within 1.5 metres (no further) for a minimum of 15 minutes (no less). In other words, walking the street, brushing shoulders in the supermarket, even a takeaway coffee or 10-minute sit down on the table next to someone else will not register at all. The only thing that protects you is maintaining your physical distance and/or keep moving, don’t gather for more than a few minutes or at all if you can avoid it. Conclusion 1: The app did nothing to protect you, you did!

Now, you get home, wash your hands, gargle with mouthwash before you touch anything – great idea and of course you may have had a mobile hand sanitiser or wipe you used when you got into your car, on or off the train, and no-one coughed or sneezed incessantly over you from the back seat, because they are at home silly – The ones wearing a mask are more worried about you. Gladly you are not suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attack or suspicious paranoia, just being a good citizen! Several days pass. Now if you have been exposed and caught the virus, incubation 4-7 days, in most cases you are going to experience at least some minor symptoms – Dry cough, runny or blocked nose, sore or irritable throat, and a temperature, which if you are a good citizen you might take routinely once a day in the morning just to be sure – But if it is going to happen, you are going to know, it will happen within 4-7 days of point of contact. If that person (point of contact) got tested sometime later, now that’s a big ‘if’ to start with, you will get a notification also sometime later. Now, given the point of contact + incubation period + reported sometime later (the ‘if’) + ‘more’ sometime later it takes to process and notify, isn’t it likely you already know about it or chances are the incubation period is done and dusted. If you are a good citizen you are already taking precautions, lying low and staying at home. Alas if you relied on the app, it’s too late you have already infected others, those at home and anyone you have come into contact with since. Conclusion 2: The app did nothing to protect you, you did!

Here comes the app’s (great gig in the sky) blessing and it is practically the only possibility I can think of other than being told what to do instead of winging it, and if you are one who wings it, will the app stop you? ‘Not bloody likely’ I hear you say. If you are one of those who are 100% asymptomatic and we don’t think this is as common, may be more likely children (footnote, do you have children in your household?), then the app may be your unlikely (doubtful lucky) warning light. But then consider, you may not even have been infected from that contact, so unless you are going to trot along to a test centre, this is the only scenario you are going to know, but you are a good citizen. Slight sheepish grin breaking, however remember, if you ‘are’ one of those ‘asymptomatics’, I wonder how many of those you came into contact with were also asymptomatic, in which case you are never going to get that notification anyway because they don’t know and have no reason to go and get tested – Conclusion 3: The app did nothing to protect you or your family, by being vigilant and taking responsibility rather than relying on a stupid app, you did!

Now tell me what am I missing?

What is the real purpose of this app?

Why has this been rolled out so disingenuously and politicised?

Why the lies and deception, the value judgements?

Who do you trust?

What’s on the other side other than breaches of privacy, control, collusion, exclusion and surveillance?

Even if the app can help, and I have heard no convincing argument yet, have Morrison and the Liberals earned and do they deserve our trust, shaking hands and bleating like a rabid wolf every day all the way back from Hawaii?

Damn it, just put your sunscreen on, shut up and do it!

Don’t have any problem with going and get tested, although it makes more sense to do a combination of: 1) test if you have symptoms or think you may have been exposed and you don’t need an app to tell you that, you can do it; 2) Target and screen higher risk or vulnerable groups, you don’t need an app for that and this is not its function, health authorities do that; 3) Do some random screen testing in the population, again no app required this is a public health initiative; and 4) Accidental outbreak – contact tracing and indicated testing initiated, usually there are many leads but the app may actually help a little here if all the stars are out, but once again the horse has already bolted; and if you are in touch with the above provisos and safeguards, conclusion 4: You’ve got it covered already, it’s called responsibility, you got it!


Art Source: The poetic surrealism of Rafal Olbiński

All said and done, I see a trickle of resistant, oppositional, indifferent and incidental cases coming through on the app, but unless you go and get tested, it’s hit and miss, it’s pretty pointless, and in the meantime did you remember to observe physical distancing and wash your hands, because the app can’t do that for you. You might as well go home singing ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ – But guess what?

Morrison and the Liberals, Amazon and the Telcos, police and the State, mainstream media even the ABC (including repetitive nauseating shots of ‘we are one’ when we are not), security services, bouncers and big business are all singing hymns of praise for the digital icon they conned you into, giving up your freedom and privacy, because they don’t think you are bright enough to take responsibility and be a good citizen, only you do! Actually, they just want to make a profit, be elite, stay on the other side.

Who else can you trust but yourself and those around you, because you certainly can’t trust Morrison and the app. That’s not what rainbows are made of, and just an aside, when the ‘snap back’ comes, when everything goes back to the ‘normal’ settings, back to blind economy and rampant neoliberalism, corruption and lies, how long will it take for Morrison and the Liberals to fuck you up once more, and now they’ve got the app out of you – Because their ideology never worked to get you out of this one. This one required a good dose of reason and humanitarian socialism, which they lovingly and uncharacteristically bestowed on us, and it’s now theirs to take away. But we can wish for a little bit of genuine democracy on the other side, with a dose of truth and reason, that might help. And we can wait for the vaccine, but who will immunise us against these politicians, I don’t recall picking them up in a wet market.

Did I download the app? You’re kidding me, right?

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17 comments

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  1. Ian Crossfield

    I don’t understand your reasoning. Granted there are plenty of legitimate concerns with the app but the reasoning presented in the first and second paragraph (which seems to be the basis for the rest of the article) is completely flawed. First social distancing is the most effective solution but isn’t the only solution, sometimes close proximity can’t be avoided. Ruling out all other solutions is naive. In regards to the second conclusion you get a notification as soon as somebody you have been in proximity with for over 15 minutes tests positive. The chances they get a positive result before you do is high because they are in a later stage of the virus. How have you concluded you would always get your results before the person who infects you?

  2. Brett Stokes

    (a) sewer testing is another useful way of measuring community contagion

    (b) heard some more details on the radio – sounds like the app stores (on your phone) every contact you make – when and if you upload to the server then the 15 minute ones are extracted (and the others ignored presumably haha)

  3. Brett Stokes

    (c) do a Jacinda and keep a diary

    (d) other ideas include a venue based logging system, for shops clubs pubs cafes sports events etc – every attendee is identified and contact details kept by venue for thirty days

    (e) the app is crapp – thanks for this article

  4. Noapp4me

    Great article Jon. I would like to tell Scummo where to stick his New World Order app. This is the first time in history that healthy people have been put in lockdown and it has been largely prompted by a corrupt media frenzy. If the Governments and media were not so busy censoring any conversation that does not agree with the globalist W.H.O. or Vax-em-all-Gates, people might be able to learn some facts from non-political experts that there has been total over-reach on this scamdemic and other ways to deal with it. But is there any chance that any government is going to admit that it got it wrong when re-election is their first priority. Too many millions being thrown out of work and too many people suffering unnecessarily. Do the right thing and protect the vulnerable, and let the world move on. Interestingly, there are seemingly valid suggestions that five gee may also be exacerbating the Covid-19 situation (http://www.radiationdangers.com/5g-street-lights/study-shows-direct-correlation-between-5g-networks-and-coronavirus-outbreaks/).

  5. whatever

    I think a lot of people are expecting this thing to work like the movie Minority Report, with Tom Cruise conjuring up windows into distant locations and times.

    The app has not been updated since the April 25 release, and the whole concept of the exercise being able to provide a “snapshot” of events is flawed – tracking operations like this are carried out all the time by Market Research people, but they are only used to measure the traffic of people coming and going.

  6. Bob Parker

    The way it was explained to me by a microbiologist is this:
    1. Viral exchange between two people breathing normally is negligible at a distance of 1.5 meters in any time less than 15 minutes.
    2. The assumptions here are based on historical data, not specifically about SARS-COV-2, the virus of concern presently.

    The concerns about the privacy of the app have been allayed by experts who have analyzed the app in detail.
    The actual contact data is retained on the user’s phone only for a periof of 21 days and then deleted automatically.
    Contact data is uploaded voluntarily by the phone’s owner voluntarily on request of a health worker in the event of that owner being infected by the virus.

    Naturally, the app does nothing about infection from droplets expelled by someone sneezing or coughing in close proximity in a short time frame.

    Lucky users of iPhones will have the app becoming inactive after a short period of time after a phone restart. Whether this defect is remedied anytime soon is anyone’s guess.

  7. Brett Stokes

    more details about the crap app !!!

    This article confirms that all detected contacts are stored on your phone, not just 15 minutes or longer ones, not just 1.5 metres or closer – and all are sent to the server if you upload.

    Also noteworthy –

    (1) bluetooth transmissions of your UniqueID can be picked up by google/apple/whatever at your home and then connected to you as you roam the world for up to two hours

    (2) if you turn bluetooth off then this is detected every two hours by the server updating your UniqueID (or trying to and failing)

    (3) if someone looks at your phone then they can see the phone model of your contacts

    “The exact phone model of a person’s contacts could be extremely revealing information. Suppose for example that a person wishes to understand whether another person whose phone they have access to has visited some particular mutual acquaintance. The controlling person could read the (plaintext) logs of COVIDSafe and detect whether the phone models matched their hypothesis. This becomes even easier if there are multiple people at the same meeting. This sort of group re-identification could be possible in any situation in which one person had control over another’s phone. Although not very useful for suggesting a particular identity, it would be very valuable in confirming or refuting a theory of having met with a particular person.”

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/04/28/covidsafe_analysis/

  8. wam

    the believers have the app including our territory labor pollie, you know the ones who thinks smirko, brandt et al are colleagues and he proudly announces his ignorant folly on facebook.
    but a snap shot every 15 minutes will not show the the group cuddling for 4 minutes and now cuddling two metres away.
    Old cynics ask themselves, watching the federal government spending millions on a plethora of adverts, what have these Canberra clp idiots done, now?
    An answer could be that they have promised amazon billions for the app and will have to pay whether we take it up or not. So to cover embarrassment they are advertising their arse off. or they have a view for tomorrow

  9. Kronomex

    The more that Scummo keeps pushing harder for us to download the application the more I wonder what else is lurking in it. How long before he gets the shits and makes it mandatory? Personally, he can get firetrucked!

  10. Henry Johnston

    My Android version 4.4.2. phone does not accept the App. Until the source code is open to developers to tinker, then tens of thousands of people such as me, simply cannot run it

  11. Kronomex

    Henry, as the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.”

  12. Terence Mills

    About twelve years ago a Telstra van called in after we had complained about our poor mobile connectivity (they don’t do home calls any more). The man had a little onboard computer in his ute and after a few minutes proudly told us that we were in a blackspot, we had no signal – he showed us the lack of signal on his onboard computer and lo, there was no signal.

    He said that there would likely be a new tower put up in our area and that should fix things but as he had accepted early retirement any enquiries would have to be directed to the Telstra help desk in the Philippines.

    In the intervening years we have established several good friendships with a help desk workers in downtown Manila and have even offered them accommodation should they visit Australia. But, of course we haven’t had a new tower and thus we still cannot get a mobile signal (internet is satellite) and we have heard , from a retrenched Telstra technician that we won’t be getting anything soon unless we erect our own transmission mast (known as a Yagi) at around $400.

    No we won’t be downloading the App as that would mean buying a smart phone and sitting in the car at the end of our road to get a signal.

    The upside of forced lock-down and separation is just business as usual around here and we still have the King Parrots and the Crimson and Pale Headed Rosellas at the feeder and that makes up for a lot.

  13. Bigby

    The Big Brother Tracing App, what’s the real story? Firstly, this virus is very very special, it refuses to jump its lazy arse more than 1.5m, and when it does get the energy to do so it waits 15 minutes before leaping on a new host. This forum has lots of good ideas floating around, let’s combine minds and make up some more rubbish factoids about what this virus can and can’t do. How long before we’ll be told the virus morphed, can sometimes jump on the next victim within minutes and can now jump 3 meters? Time to change the rules and update the Big Brother Tracing App. This shorter time/greater distance co-location would allow authorities to widen the net to include more people in mandatory testing and thus result in more forced orders to isolate at home or hospitals.
    I do not trust this government 1.5 meters. Jon, a very well reasoned article, keep them coming.

  14. New England Cocky

    @Terence Mills: Somebody else with a “wonderful” satellite landline and terrible reception. And here’s me thinking that it only occurred in electorates having a representative of the Nat$ in Parliament because allowing Australian voters to talk among each other may expose the lack of policies benefitting this Australian voters, or the emphasis of the representatives pursing their own pecuniary interests to the exclusion of Australian voters!

    The unChristian COALition misgovernment refused the Singapore mobile telephone storage system for COVID-19 tracer because it was secure from interference by fascist misgovernments and their minions the Benito Duddo blackshirts.

  15. Tanya

    Is the PM now holding us to ransom, or blackmailing the public. I read that “The more people who download the app the more likely restrictions are to be lifted. Worded in such a way as to say “If we don’t get (insert arbitrary number) installs we’ll continue to keep you locked down… errr. sorry, locked up…

    It’s absolutely bizarre how this is being pushed. You have to wonder as to the legitimacy of the app. I felt really embarrassed and ashamed when I read an article where the PM “Congratulated Australian’s for downloading the app”. Makes us all sound like compliant little children.

    And what I don’t get is that all cell phones have GPS. Wouldn’t it be a trivial task to match GPS data to this apps data? (In reference to “do this app track me?”, where the response was “In a word: No”. Well that may be true, the phone tracks you, the app does not, but the data is easily merged and mapped?

    I’m sorry, but I find the whole thing absurd to the extreme.

  16. whatever

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-02/coronavirus-app-currently-not-fully-operational/12208924

    ….the ABC has confirmed that if a person tests positive to coronavirus today, the information on their app will not be passed on to contact tracers, because states and territories are still working out how the system will operate.

    “The rules on privacy are being finalised, along with final IT testing,” a Department of Health spokesman said.

    “The system will be operational next week ahead of the decision on possible easing of restrictions”

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