"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)
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 …
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
"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.
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.
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.
>Point of fact, we didn't just use them, we invented them
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
€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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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."
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.
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?".
For those asking about the breakdown of the costs see
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.
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
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!
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.
"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.
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
From Germany here - and observing the development for quite some time.
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:
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.
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.
Germanyy has been running human-powered contact tracing all along.
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.
> 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.
"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.
"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.
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...)
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.
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?