back to article Germany is helping the UK develop its COVID-19 contact-tracing app, says ambassador

Germany is helping the UK develop its new decentralised contact-tracing app, the country's ambassador Andreas Michaelis told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "Our experts are in touch with experts here in the UK, overseen by the two health ministries to see how they can move forward together, shoulder to shoulder," Michaelis …

  1. Flak
    Joke

    "In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing"

    At least this is keeping humans in a job!

    (I am sure that will be the spin anyway)

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: "In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing"

      I think everyone should be wearing a bio-hazmat suit and there should be a Hygiene Person at the entrance and exit of every office, shop, bus and at stations, where they can spray each individual with benzylkonium chloride. Unemployment will be a thing of the past.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: "In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing"

        I think the British Government should be pushing ahead with the development of the Mark II Travel Machine as the superior solution in exterminating the virus threat.

        Best Wishes, Davros

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing"

          >I think the British Government should be pushing ahead with the development of the Mark II Travel Machine

          Read Verner Vinge's "The Peace War"

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Peace_War

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deutschland, uber alle allies

    Not cool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah lets bring up WW2 constantly, its what lead to Brexit etc...while ignoring our use of concentration camps in Kenya in the 1950s and the murder by neglect in concentration camps of vast numbers of Boer wives and children during the Boer war....

      We are not blameless in this world and often just as guilty of genocide

      1. Len Silver badge

        Agreed, Germany has a very black decade in its history but you can't deny they've done exceptionally well in dealing with it, educating people about the atrocities to prevent it from happening again etc. You know what they say "The Allied Forces won the war but Germany won the peace".

        A lot of countries have very dark periods in their history, including slave trade, invading countries to steal their wealth and loot artefacts to put in museums, killing millions of people (by disinterest or genocide), running concentration camps or overthrowing existing democracies. Very few countries have learned from their history as well as the Germans have.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Very few countries have learned from their history as well as the Germans have.

          Possibly because they teach people about it, and don't try to hide it from sight.

        2. anothercynic Silver badge

          Well, that's debatable. Germany has *not* dealt well with its own brushes of colonialism in Africa and elsewhere, whereas with the Nazi period they've been pretty good.

          If you were to point out that Germany committed not just a Jewish genocide, but an Ovaherero/Nama one too nearly 50 years earlier under the Kaiser, most Germans would be very puzzled by what you're talking about. The Ovaherero on the other hand would not be, neither would be anyone with German colonial history knowledge.

          The good news is that the BLM movement has *finally* forced Belgium of all places to acknowledge that they hadn't treated their colonies well, and promised changes/reparations. Germany? Not so much. But at least the dialogue is now beginning.

          1. John Jennings Bronze badge

            I think Belgium

            Basically exterminated most of the Congo - the levels of genocide are not comparable.

            Belgium was likely responsible for more deaths in Africa than every other colonial power - including the Roman empire.

            The Spanish in South America, or the colonialists in the USA would only be larger - and they were mostly disease.

            1. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

              Re: I think Belgium

              I'm inclined to agree, based on my knowledge of that part of history, but it pays to be careful about these sort of claims - Human populations have tended to increase, so it may be worse when it happened in the C19th compared to say the C1st, in terms of absolute numbers, but not necessarily percentages: wiping out whole populations in an area is not a product of the C19th or C20th.

              Also, there is the level to which events are recorded/reported. My knowledge of Russian history is somewhat sketchy, but I believe Siberia was obtained by the Russian Empire with the order to clear it of it's existing population (Drive off or kill being equally acceptable to the Tsar), and the Argentinian 'conquest of the desert' is similarly generally accepted as at best kill or drive off and at worst pre-planned genocide.

              But neither of these events occurred where there were sufficient 'civilised liberal people' to take notes about it, write it up for a newspaper, and cause the good middle class people of London, Paris and Stockholm to be outraged.

          2. LucreLout Silver badge

            whereas with the Nazi period they've been pretty good.

            Pretty good? I think they've been nothing short of absolutely impressive in this respect rather than merely "pretty good". What more would you have them do?

            1. seven of five Silver badge

              Wasn' t there a goal they have to admit? Or have to admit there wasn't one?

              Don't really know, not into soccer...

        3. tfb Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Although I'm sure there are other episodes in their history that they're not really facing up to, my experience of living in Germany was that they really were trying hard at facing up to nazi bit and what it meant. It probably helped that by then (early 1990s) most of the people who would have to answer awkward questions were very old, and almost all of them are dead now of course. But they really were trying: there was none of the obfuscatory bullshit that you get in the UK about our history (and no, I'm not saying what we did equates to what the Nazis did, but we also were not always the good guys). So I agree about that.

          But I think it's at least arguable that America won the peace, in the sense that they saw what had happened after the first war and where that lead, and decided it definitely was not going to happen this time, throwing resources into Germany to stop it. Whether they did that because they were enlightened or whether they did it because they wanted to keep the pesky commies out I don't know. Probably both.

          (And now some troll is going to berate me for being rude about the wonderful EnglishBritish and suggest that if I hate them so much I should leave. And, if I was 28 again, I would, but now I have old relatives, pets, houses, etc.)

          1. crayon

            "But I think it's at least arguable that America won the peace, in the sense that they saw what had happened after the first war and where that lead, and decided it definitely was not going to happen this time, throwing resources into Germany to stop it."

            Very arguable, they milked all sides before deciding on which one to join. Even then, in Europe they left the brunt of the fighting, killing and dying to the Soviets. But the Europeans have forgotten that, now they celebrate VE day without Russia.

            1. tfb Silver badge

              I'm talking about after the war, not during it, when America threw huge amounts of money at Germany.

            2. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

              Well, from September 1939 until June 1941, the USSR was supplying vital raw materials to Nazi Germany, without which, their war industries would have been significantly inconvenienced (by how much is one of those detailed historical debates that never really gets a resolution).

              But thematically, it's not entirely misleading to say the tanks and bombers that invaded France in May/June 1940 and bombed Britain in the Blitz throughout the winter of 1940/1941 contained material supplied by the USSR, ran on fuel supplied by the USSR, and fired shells/dropped bombs again made from materials supplied by the USSR. But we tend to forget about that, too. (I've even seen the claim that the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union was only possible due to the rubber the Soviet Union supplied to Nazi Germany - no idea if true, but suitably ironic if it is).

              Also, I suspect that our (former) EU partners / (current) NATO partners, Poland, Czech Republic (or should that be Czechia?), Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia may have an opinion regarding the Soviet Union / Russia, and haven't forgotten a thing about what they did.

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Yeah lets bring up WW2 constantly, its what lead to Brexit etc..

        Brexit started as a result of Gordon Browns treatment of Gillian Duffy, and became a nailed on certainty due to the behavior of Guy Verhofsdadt and that drunk fella Junker in the run up to the referendum. Absent any of those people and Brexit would never have happened; The vote would have been unwinnable. Collectively they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

        ignoring our use of concentration camps

        Point of fact, we didn't just use them, we invented them.

        We are not blameless in this world and often just as guilty of genocide

        Sure, its all about timing - I mean, the Romans or the Vikings weren't altogether entirely lovely people, but when the Scandinavians bring it up (which is all the time) it doesn't mean they endorse the enslavement, rape and pillage of our ancestors, only that sufficient time has passed that its OK to make jokes about it. Same thing for us and the Germans about WWII - I mean, their country really really embraced learning from the mistakes of their past and I think most Brits respect that, which is why we can and do laugh about it.

        2 world wars and 1 world cup is a fun song to sing at football matches, but everyone in the stadium has lived to see more Germans lift the cup than Englishmen and everyone in the stadium knows it too.

        1. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

          >Point of fact, we didn't just use them, we invented them

          Debatable.

          The UK used concentration camps in the Boer war, certainly.

          And they were designed to do what their name suggested- concentrate people (to stop them supplying the enemy/make them easier to police).

          And they were badly run (which is to say, atrociously run, to the point that under our current values, we would say criminally negligent).

          And this came out because the British authorities that ran them were quite happy (well, accepting of) British Journalists wondering around them, and then writing accounts of the conditions in newspapers that everyone in Britain and worldwide could read.

          Which led to outrage in Britain, the demand that Something Must Be Done, and, somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, Something Was Done, and conditions were very markedly improved.

          Which means that the British Boer War camps that are called concentration camps were entirely different to the nature and purpose of the camps that were called concentration camps in Nazi Germany.

          Knowledge of the UK concentration camps does seem to be less widespread than the Nazi camps, but if you have even basic factual knowledge on the British Empire in general or the Boer War specifically, you'll know about them (and know that they are not at all comparable to the Nazi version).

          As to Britain inventing Concentration camps - I read somewhere a long time ago (sorry, I can't provide a reference/source, was too long ago that I read it) that the US used Concentration camps in the Philippines (don't know if it's true, or when they were used, though it was sometime during/after the Spanish-American War of 1898, so about the same time the British used them in South Africa).

          Moreover, I suspect that a neutral historian with sufficient interest in the subject would probably find equivalencies throughout most of Human history.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      These days it's more like "Britain uber alles" while in the rest of Europe it's more like "Europe uber alles". Times change, idiocy doesn't.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      I thought it was fairly obviously making Britain the butt of the joke and so, assuming the article was written by a Brit, fairly innocuous.

    4. General Purpose

      I read it as "Germany, our best ally" (or more literally "above all [other] allies").

      That might be an exaggeration but it's fair comment on a day when the US's DHSS anounced it's bought up "100 percent of Gilead’s projected production [of Remdesivir] for July, 90 percent of production in August, and 90 percent of production in September", leaving none for allies including the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world.

    5. alexlawriewood

      For what it's worth, the line comes from a song from the mid-19th century calling for a united Germany as opposed to the many small confederated states. Parts of it are the German national anthem now. Think it's fine to quote it with a pun.

      https://www.britannica.com/topic/Deutschlandlied

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Germany is helping Britain overcome its incompetence. Suck it up Brexiter. There will be plenty more where that came from!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So the UK has left the EU (in January) and here we are, with Germany helping the UK on a bi-lateral basis. Just like the Brexiteers said they (and other nations) would (in general), as part of sensible international cooperation. And just like the more rabid remainers (which I'm guessing includes you) said would not happen, but that the UK would be isolated.

        1. ICL1900-G3

          What, like the UK not joining in the joint PPE purchase with the rest of the EU, because Johnson 'lost the email'?

  3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    £11.8M

    I can't understand the alleged NHSX £11.8M costs. With the generous assumptions that they started 1st Feb and ran till 30th June and worked 7 days a week, that's £78k per day. Even allowing £2.5k per day for salary plus business overheads (equivalent to about £1k/dy salary) that's a full-time team of 30 very expensive people. Where did the money go?

    Maybe the Germans have done the same analysis and figured they can charge UK Gov £££££££ for their assistance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £11.8M

      Where did the money go?

      I heard a rumour that a relative of a famous, slapheaded, government "advisor" was involved...

      1. mholland

        Re: £11.8M

        do you know how much an eye test costs?

    2. gv

      Re: £11.8M

      Nice "work" (nothing tangible produced) if you can get it.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: £11.8M

      The answer to your question is: government contract. These are almost never negotiated like commercial ones. The German one cost € 20 m and we don't really know where that went either.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: £11.8M

        For a project of that size 20 m is not one bit excessive. Note, it was delivered on time, it actually worked from day one, and it supports many types of smartphones.

        People form the CCC (Chaos Computer Club, very competent folks) looked at it and deem it good.

        Not one penny wasted IMO.

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: £11.8M

          €20m is way over the top. As I've said before I could have apps for both platforms done in a week, solo. Let's call it two weeks to include backend and testing. Even at government contract rates charging more than 100k is ridiculous.

          I'd say at least 19 milliom, 900 thousand pennies were wasted. But at least they have an app, unlike UKgov who will never complete a Covid app.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £11.8M

            You presumably don't have experience of delivering life-critical healthcare software in government organisations, where you'll potentially kill tens of thousands of people if you get it wrong. Particularly with one of the most intensely scrutinised and political software developments ever, being talked about daily on telly and in every newspaper. You'll spend a million quid just doing 'stakeholder management' and providing enough of an umbrella to get any real work done. This is not optional.

            How will you agree requirements, when you're talking to people on the who want complete centralised control and unmeetable demands on battery life, distance measurement accuracy etc.? Will you define personas and the varying user journeys, and test prototypes of all combinations of those?

            Are you including creating secure CI/CD pipelines with fully automated testing that will allow updates to be pushed out quickly? How about extensive non-functional testing - ramp up in update will (hopefully) be one of the fastest for an app and its backend ever, you cannot afford for the backend to go down, you need to test accessibility as this must be useable population-wide, etc.? Operational procedures for the people who will run the backend?

            Bear in mind that you'll have the people from NCSC/CESG crawling over you with a fine tooth comb, so you'd better have your security requirements clear, mapped robustly to controls throughout your code, infrastructure and procedures, and work with the pen testers (and there will be good ones) to fix the inevitable holes. Hopefully you have all the right security qualifications, otherwise you won't be taken seriously. There's also a byzantine NHS information assurance governance structure to work through including Caldicott guardians etc., which is important as you're doing one of the largest sensitive data collection exercises in history (at least, in the centralised model).

            The list goes on and on - the above is a fraction of the non-development effort involved.

            Don't get me wrong - this has been a disaster. It was blindingly obvious to anyone sensible from the start that we should have gone the route of using official decentralised APIs and reusing the reference implementations provided. We've spent massively too much money for no results, and many lives may be lost before it's fixed.

            But £100k is just ridiculous.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: £11.8M

              I guess very few of the good (critical) things you listed were actually incorporated in the tender or bid response for the UK effort. If true the project was never likely to go well.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: £11.8M

          Depends on your definition of "on time", considering it was originally due in April. And it only got approval about its handling of data privacy from the CCC after massive initial criticism. The € 20 m will certainly have helped pay for a few of the strategy boutique meetings.

          More importantly, if the Entsendegesetz had been applied to the meat processing industry years ago, thousands of people in meat processing plants wouldn't have been put unnecessarily at risk or the good burghers of Gütersloh forced to stay at home. Still waiting for the technological solution to treating employees like shit that doesn't involve replacing them by robots.

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: £11.8M

            > Still waiting for the technological solution to treating employees like shit that doesn't involve replacing them by robots.

            The best solution is to stop that sub-sub-sub-contractor shite going on. The owner of the meat processing plant said he didn't know who was working in his plant, the workers said the did not know who employed them. Crap like that absolutely has to stop. Similar things happen on construction sites.

            1. Dave White
              Coat

              Re: £11.8M

              Sounds like they need to keep a handle on things. Maybe labelling them. Maybe a rindfleischmitarbeiteretikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz?

              Ok ok, I'll get my coat...

              1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                Angel

                Re: £11.8M

                rindfleischmitarbeiteretikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

                For brevity and readability we use the abbreviation RFMAEÜAÜG.

              2. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

                Re: £11.8M

                "Beef and Veal Employees' Labeling Supervision Tasks Transfer Act" ?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £11.8M

      Where did the money go?

      It's because VMWare were involved:-

      "Congratulations, you tested positive! Your installation status has now been upgraded to <INFECTED> so you now have multiple copies of unlicensed coronavirus. Please call the VMWare sales team on 0123 45678 to arrange the purchase of a licence on your behalf."

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: £11.8M

        I use VMWare Fusion for Mac and Workstation for PC (need both for my job, as I need to work with VMs running various flavours of macOS and Windows. On a personal level, the packages do the job I need them for well.

        On a corporate level though, I understand that with VMWare, the costs can build very quickly.

    5. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: £11.8M

      Wait, and you might find out. Or the request might be denied for some spurious reason

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £11.8M

      >>Where did the money go?

      To Dom's relatives and cronies, natch.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £11.8M

      Its still a lot less that the government spent on contracts with friends to procure non existent cross channel ferries last year. Less than a mythical garden bridge too.Come to think of it didn't much of that cash end up in the pockets of Tory friends too?

    8. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: £11.8M

      I can't understand the alleged NHSX £11.8M costs.

      Dido. Harding.

    9. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: £11.8M

      You forget the shareholders. They have families they need to supp... Sorry, can't continue with a straight face.

      But involve companies like VMWare, and you do get shareholders to support, which costs money.

      Then there is also tendency for any costs involved in government projects to look more like telephone numbers.

      Reminds me of a quote from Independence day. "You don't actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat do you?".

  4. mholland

    You'd think it would be worth being in some sort of Union with our European friends

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You'd think it would be worth being in some sort of Union with our European friends

      Community, maybe. Union is waayyy too close.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Commies are Cumming !!!

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      @mholland

      "You'd think it would be worth being in some sort of Union with our European friends"

      Why? Being capable of working together regardless of such a union does not mean we need a union. And what about everyone else in the world? Are they not good enough? Are we not friends?

  5. prismatics

    Almost like a low quality tsundere anime

    A.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    details of the contracts

    For those asking about the breakdown of the costs see

    https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2020/06/24/here-are-the-private-companies-with-million-contracts-for-the-failed-nhsx-tracing-app/

    so yes, about 30 full time (well 4 days in office) developers and wranglers fecking around making "kerching" noises and then binning all of the "work" at the end.

    I'm shocked

    1. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: details of the contracts

      "so yes, about 30 full time (well 4 days in office) developers and wranglers fecking around making "kerching" noises and then binning all of the "work" at the end."

      See also: eBorders

  7. peeberry

    Germany's contact tracing app is freely available on a public Github repo already:

    https://github.com/corona-warn-app

    Not sure what more help would be required?

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Translation?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        An expensive middleman who is a friend

        of a friend ?

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        I thought it already had an English translation, though it isn't clear why.

        Perhaps there is a legal requirement to make a UK app available in other languages as well, since it is some kind of government service. Anyone actually know?

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          It would have an English translation because there might be English speaking people in Germany. Its also something that should be a piece of piss to implement for someone experienced in app design which almost by definition is international. But if you think about it how many phrases do you need to translate - the permissions are asked through the OS (android always seems to be asking me to give an app permissions) and after that you just leave it running. An XML file of data about where to send the data and you're pretty much ready to go in another country.

          Note the above is not MBA proof and assumes the implementer actually wants the app to work in their country which I have serious doubts about

          1. SloppyJesse

            So the only development needed is the positive test verification process and Bob's your aunt's live in lover?

          2. Holtsmark

            It has an English translation.

            My phone has the OS set to English, so the app automatically chose the English interface (nice and minimalistic).

            Bluetooth has to be switched on (a sacrifice that I am more than willing to make).

            An effect on battery drain has not bee noticed.

            When available; get it!

      3. tfb Silver badge
        Terminator

        I haven't looked at the code, but all the commit messages and all the README / CHANGELOG &c files are in English. These are people who thought that non-German-speakers might want to inspect the code and contribute. Competent people, in other words. I'd be really surprised if translating the text in the code is hard.

        In fact based on this the localisation for English is at least partly done (there appears to be Turkish as well).

        Of course we won't use it because GERMAN NOT BRITISH and NOT BRITISH BAD. BETTER TO DIE THAN BE NOT BRITISH. JOLLY GOOD. I have it on direct telepathic evidence that these are the thoughts of our great and noble leader.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      It has a fatal flaw: Not Invented Here.

    3. iron Silver badge

      What you're missing is someone to explain to UKgov what Github is, what open source is, and why they should use it. And, again for the room of simians at keyboards that they refer to as programmers.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Explaining it's owned by Microsoft should help.

    4. Lotaresco Silver badge

      "Not sure what more help would be required?"

      For government IT an explanation of what GitHub is, £900,000 in consultancy fees to write a report that says that GitHub is used by Chinese hackers therefore unsafe. Another £150,000 to re-write the report at a level that could be understood by an MP, followed by a Cabinet Office edict to state that GIThub is to be blocked on all government networks.

    5. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Search & replace for +49 with +44? Perhaps a new server address for any central comms that are needed?

      The irony might well be that because the same legal frameworks are probably in place regarding data security (GDPR and all that gubbins) it's probably been produced to standards acceptabe to UK legislation without any changes whatsoever.

      I bet GCHQ want to piss in it, though

    6. imdatsolak

      A few minor issues...

      From Germany here - and observing the development for quite some time.

      History

      Originally, it was planned as a centralized solution. After a big outcry of various scientist, privacy advocates, software engineers, hackers and such *and* (more importantly) Apple and Google deciding that a centralized approach would not be supported on iOS & Android, respectively, the German government caved in and decided "... to do the right thing" and create an open-source, de-centralized solution.

      I suggest to review the extensive and really great documentation those guys created, to be found in the GitHub repo: https://github.com/corona-warn-app/cwa-documentation

      The solution consists of multiple components, of which the Verfication-Server is the part requiring most adaptation to a country:

      > https://github.com/corona-warn-app/cwa-documentation/blob/master/backend-infrastructure-architecture.pdf

      I think the real value is not so much in the iOS/Android code but rather in the concepts and the back-end infrastructure they have created.

      And yes, you can go there, fork it and have your own solution for your own country.

      Some of you asked why there was already an English version: actually this is now standard in Germany. Nearly all apps come in German *and* English as primary languages; later they add Turkish, French, Italian, Spanish and so on. This is nothing special in this app.

  8. Brangdon Bronze badge

    Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

    That was always part of the plan. Some people don't have smart phones. Some of those that do, won't install the app. The app was never more than an adjunct to manual contact tracing. At best it helps with situations where the infected person doesn't know all the people they've been in contact with. For example, if they sat on public transport next to a stranger for 20 minutes without exchanging phone numbers. Neither the app, nor manual tracing, can be expected to give perfect track and trace.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

      Is that 'runs down street after infected person yelling, "Oi YOU, what's your telephone number?".?

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

        Hmm...thinks: maybe that would be a way of getting the contact details of that nice young lady I saw the other day...

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

          ...which is just one of the reasons why there are privacy concerns around any track and trace app that everyone is expected to install on their phone.

          1. Holtsmark

            Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

            Germanyy has been running human-powered contact tracing all along.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/contact-tracing-coronavirus-germany/2020/05/24/7e59a668-93c1-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html

            It is not a matter of one or the other, it is a matter of overlapping efforts to try to cover as many of the gaps as possible.

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

      > Some people don't have smart phones.

      As far as I can tell this is pretty rare (I myself do not own a smartphone). People who do not have one are most often very old people who are not likely out in the street. IIRC the owner rate if 95 percent in the "not a small child and not yet retired" bracket.

      The problem is *much* more in the installation numbers. Still, even a non-perfect percentage will lead to alarms when the virus hits those with the app. 30 million (or even more installs) would be great to have.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

        "People who do not have one are most often very old people who are not likely out in the street."

        I take it you haven't been out much?

        I'd say about 75% of the people shopping in supermarkets, gift shops or just visiting nice areas are pensioners.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

          "I'd say about 75% of the people shopping in supermarkets, gift shops or just visiting nice areas are pensioners."

          Pensioner here, living in what's considered a nice area to visit. Haven't been in a supermarket for months, all such shopping done by our daughter. Haven't been in a gift shop since goodness knows when. And the people I see visiting here are seldom pensioners, especially not those congregating in non-socially distanced groups.

          1. tfb Silver badge

            Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

            But pensioner who is posting comments on the Register. This makes you, I would guess, untypical.

            (I'm not disagreeing with what you say – certainly it is true here that most of the non-socially-distanced groups I have seen were not pensioners by a long way, and I also have no idea who is shopping in supermarkets as we've not been since March – just saying that it's probably wrong to generalise from your situation...)

  9. JDPower
    Joke

    Isle of White??? Racist.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The strapline...

    Sorry to call you out, Register, but that strapline, as much as it is tempting to use it, is highly inappropriate.

    I hope you realise where this line comes from. I hope you realise that the Panzerlied (or Deutschlandlied) has connections and connotations to the Nazi period and as such the connotations are... well... not pretty. Quoting a line that led the Nazis down the path that brought upon us the second world war in this fashion does a great disservice to those who died in the war.

    I'd have expected this from the Daily Hate, or the Scum, or the Mirror, *not* from El Reg. Please fix.

    1. Julian Bradfield

      Re: The strapline...

      Also, "uber" is a fake taxi service, not a German word.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The strapline...

        And that's trying to split hairs. The point remains the same. The phrase has negative connotations, and quite frankly could do with avoiding.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The strapline...

          My O level german says that this reads as 'Germany, all about allies'?

          Its a legitimate phrase - best not getting PC on a phrase, eh - next we will be banning the Dead Kennedys....

        2. tfb Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: The strapline...

          I'd like to know what a native speaker gets from it, but the reading I get is 'Germany: all about allies'. If so it's quite clever. (Although I think the word order would better be 'Deutschland, alle über allies', I think the reading is the same either way.)

    2. Julian Bradfield

      Re: The strapline...

      The Panzerlied is something completely different. The Deutschlandlied was the national anthem of the FRG too, though only the third verse was sung. Since unification, only the third verse has been the national anthem.

    3. General Purpose

      Re: The strapline...

      But the strapline's not "Deutschland über alles". It's "Deutschland, uber alle allies" and that's a welcome turnaround.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The strapline...

        To quote Shania Twain: That don't impress me much.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The strapline...

      You should realise that el Reg is completely non-discriminatory. It will take the piss from anyone and likewise make atrocious puns about them. After all the writers know that if they don't we will.

      1. Jens Goerke

        Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

        If you can't laugh at your own stereotypes, you haven't learned.

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    IT Angle

    German software giant SAP is almost done with the app...

    But now your mobile phone weighs 27 pounds and has its own software development team!

  12. George Spiggott

    How times have changed, we were cracking their "unbreakable" encryption in WW2 with the World's most advanced computer.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Yeah then we chucked it all in the bin and lost the computing race.

  13. Chicane

    As a point of 8nterest the UK App source Beta For both android and iOS are also published on github and documented

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      One that works is of more interest. Not necessarily to HMG but to the rest of us.

  14. xyz

    The Germans are helping because...

    Their app isn't in official Brexit blue and someone needs to change the colour so it looks "world class" and therefore Boris approved.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: The Germans are helping because...

      Is that the printed in France Brexit blue?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So unnecessary

    Covid shield being adopted by Canada is open source, uses the most privacy preserving techniques possible, and is scalable to any population size. It’s a complete solution elegantly designed by volunteers from Shopify using the latest google and android apis. Why does England and Germany need to reinvent the wheel?

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: So unnecessary

      I could imagine that the development happened in parallel, just guessing? And the Germans did not know exactly what happened in Canada and thought they needed a solution soon, and then there was a budget already...

      Any combination of the three will do.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020