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The United Kingdom is reportedly considering a new The majority of cryptocurrency assets, along with the entire global financial sector have taken a sizeable hit in the last... More app that could help provide real-time monitoring and alerts for exposed people.
The administration has been alerted to a possible mobile app that notifies people when they come in contact with someone who has the virus, BBC reports.
The move was spurred by a study that was published in Science by the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute and Nuffield Department of Medicine. The report proposes an application that will collect and store users’ GPS location data as they move around daily.
The researchers have especially touted the app as a means to allow for freer movement within the country.
Professor Christophe Fraser, the paper’s co-lead author, explained that people had been put under severe strain as a result of the lockdown situation. With an app that collects location data and other information, the government can relax the lockdown and still manage to save lives.
The app’s functionality will be aided by users scanning QR codes that are posted to public amenities in locations with inadequate GPS signals.
Once a user starts feeling ill, the app will suggest a home test. In scenarios where the test comes back positive for COVID-19, an instant signal will be sent to everyone they’ve come in contact with in the past few days.
The signal would advise the contacts to self-isolate immediately for two weeks. The app could also warn the workplace and transportation providers of those infected with the virus to decontaminate and clean up.
In addition, the app could act as a hub for coronavirus-related health services while also providing a way to make requests for medicine and food.
The researchers pointed out that a similar platform has been deployed in China. Over there, users who voluntarily sign up for the app can go to go into public spaces and use the public transport system. Health chiefs in the UK have confirmed that they’re exploring the idea, although they’re still consulting with experts from different fields on the matter.
It’s rather interesting that regions in the West are turning to data tracking and monitoring — something that countries like China have deployed long ago. Last month, The Guardian reported that Chinese citizens had to go through several verification procedures before they could access their homes.
The report added that telecom companies in China are tracking peoples’ movements, while some regions promise rewards to whistleblowers who alert them of sick neighbors and relatives. Companies are also providing facial recognition technology to detect temperatures in clusters of people as well as people who enter crowds without face masks.
There are always questions about whether or not these tactics are in the best interest of people, especially considering the implications of mass surveillance and tracking. However, China appears to be picking itself up. Travel restrictions are being relaxed, and Wuhan — the epicenter of the virus — is set to open up next week.
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