back to article England's COVID-tracking app finally goes live after 6 months of work – including backpedal on how to handle data

The National Health Service of England and Wales has finally released its COVID-19 contact-tracing app and while it is late to market compared to other nations' efforts, it appears to have more functionality than many. Contracts to build the app were awarded in March 2020 and by May 2020 VMware was talking up the presence of …

  1. David Roberts

    Testing?

    As it is launched, how about a test report?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Testing?

      Testing. Hahahaha, you're funny.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Testing?

        released on apple and Google stores on the same day. How did they do that? Delay release until both have passed the app-nazis/bottom inspectors checks?

        in which case they have had at least a week to test the Android version.

        1. cbars

          Re: Testing?

          If its taken changes to Bluetooth handshakes to get it working, they would have to coordinate or risk news reports saying "it works, but only for iPhones/Android". Thats a mutually bad situation so just do it together for the public good, ahem, good publicity

          1. GruntyMcPugh

            Re: Testing?

            wrt Bluetooth, I've played with some 'Tile' like devices, little BT beacons that start alerting once your phone is out of range, and,... well, that's all they do. They'll mark a place on a map, which is the location your _phone_ was when it lost connection with the beacon, but as that has some range, it's only ballpark. None of them have had the option to calibrate range, so you can home in, so having said that, how does track and trace really know the 2m thing? Could be a wall attenuating the BT signal to make it look like 2m separation, when it's a wall,....?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Testing?

        Yo dawg, etc.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait for the follow up article once someone has found out just how much data it is sending to the servers/government. Maybe I'm just being cynical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      *If* - and that's a big if - they're sticking to the described privacy policy documents then the application is about as close as you can feasibly get to truly anonymous. The two key problematic datasets - exposure notifications and venue checkins - both stay on your device. The only potentially identifiable bits of persistent information are your part-postcode and your device and application version information. That would be enough for a really determined attacker to identify you, but they wouldn't gain much - there's no logs of activity maintained or anything like that. Just active/stale flags and rolling counts. So they'd be able to tell (after an inordinate amount of work) that you had used the app in the last day and checked into two venues, but not where or when or anything actually useful. That is a Good Thing.

      I'm one of those people you'll have seen posting, at length, in the original article threads (as AC, natch) railing against the enormous volumes of data NHSX were planning to hoover up and the insane privacy agreements they were asking the testers to commit to - handing the data over to Palantir and co for 7+ years. All of that is gone. The NHS have clearly put a huge amount of effort into writing the new privacy policy, the new data journey document and the human-readable versions of the same. They're now frankly exemplary pieces of work. Assuming those policies are being properly adhered to, the teams responsible for this turnaround do appear to deserve at least a handshake. Well, a sanitised handshake anyway. There is a pandemic on.

      1. john.jones.name
        Go

        its how you correct that matters

        People make mistakes.

        The important thing is how you correct mistakes

        Australia are you paying attention.

      2. ibmalone Silver badge

        As someone who has been posting the same thing not as AC I tend to agree having skimmed the data use policy. This looks okay on first inspection, the main differences to the anonymous bluetooth-only apps like StopCovid NI being the recording on your phone of venues via QR codes (not uploaded, unlike the bluetooth tokens not even uploaded if you have a positive test, has to have been reported by a manual contact tracer) and the area/start-of postcode risk status (it is not entirely clear to me that this is not shared on reporting a positive test, but you'd think they have it from the test records). Haven't gone through it with a fine-toothed comb, but it does look much better.

        While the duration of data retention link is broken (first thing I noticed), it is set out in https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-information/nhs-test-and-trace-app-early-adopter-trial-august-2020-privacy-notice which, despite the link title, is the privacy notice accessible from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-information

        I wouldn't say the functionality is that much more extensive than, say, the StopCovid NI app, only setting up the QR code infrastructure (letting venues get unique codes) is significant. Months wasted here.

        1. Woodnag Silver badge

          data use policy

          There will be a massive problem with the data use policy, no matter what it finalises to. That is, if there's either an inadvertent breach or a deliberate violation of the policy, the only people who will get a jail term will be the whistleblowers.

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: data use policy

            The short version is the data is kept on your phone until you report a positive test, at which point your randomly generated tokens for the preceding 14 days are anonymously uploaded to allow others to check against them. There isn't scope for a data breach as identifiable data isn't centrally held, unless the app is collecting data not documented in the policy, and the source code is available so that can be audited.

            1. Woodnag Silver badge

              Re: data use policy

              I'm impressed that there must have been a commitment to not use any libraries that aren't open source, so everything can be audited.

              1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                Re: data use policy

                It's almost like things are going right for once.

              2. ibmalone Silver badge

                Re: data use policy

                Well, fine, but if you want to be that paranoid why are you connecting to the internet and not in a bunker in the desert? This is the same risk every other device you use that isn't completely open from the ground up carries, so why specifically raise it as a privacy concern about the contact tracing app? It does seem to be rather muddying the waters, we're talking about people who have smartphones anyway.

            2. Wayland Bronze badge

              Re: data use policy

              Obviously the anonimised IDs must be de-anonimised for someone once a trace is required.

              Also is the data pulled from phones or pushed? If there is no central authority is this some kind of self governing bot farm?

              1. ibmalone Silver badge

                Re: data use policy

                "Obviously", except not. You could read about how it works if you wanted, people have explained it here before.

                *Sigh* okay.

                The only identifiable bit is the test results token https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-information/the-nhs-test-and-trace-app-early-adopter-trial-august-2020-data-protection-impact-assessment#test-results once the phone receives a token for a positive test it uploads the diagnosis keys, which are not connected to the test result token and cannot be traced to the user (in any case, you've had a test, so the people who conducted the test know this about you anyway). The list of diagnosis keys that have been sent in after positive tests is made available, people's individual devices retrieve this and use them to check against the exposure events they have collected and whether your exposure to a matching positive testing device was above the defined threshold. No central server knows which exposure events you were in contact with.

      3. Dr Dan Holdsworth
        Thumb Up

        That the NHS app has taken up all of Google/Apple's advice is not surprising; what is surprising is how fully and wholly this has happened. I do hope that this is a portent of things to come; the UK government actually acting sensibly in the face of adversity, as opposed to merely handing out contracts to the Usual Suspects in return for the usual graft.

        Hey, I can dream.

      4. Wayland Bronze badge

        I expect if the police get possession of the phone then they will have the tools to see all your contacts and locations. They can then go and harass those people.

        Even if they have no such ability, possessing the phone means they will tell the suspect that they can and are just awaiting their nerd to have a look.

        Also how much of this new addition to the OS is running when the app is not installed? I suspect that Apple and Google made the important part of the app and all NHSX did was hook the API into something that writes files.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          I expect if the police get possession of the phone then they will have the tools to see all your contacts and locations.

          The locations certainly, of course if you haven't explicitly turned it off they can already do that from your phone's location history. And you can delete venues from the app history if you wish. The contacts, no, they'd have better luck with your actual contacts list, the exposure notifications are only identifiable if you can get hold of someone else's device and extract their generated diagnosis tokens (retained for 14 days).

          The exposure notifications infrastructure is integrated into the OS by Apple and Google, yes, this is largely a UI thrown on top of it (although the venue tracing is not part of the Apple and Google setup). It doesn't run unless an app that uses it has been installed and given access.

          Genuinely, this has been described at length on the register and elsewhere.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    Based on every I read and hear from the UK, there is no second wave, it is still in the ups and downs of the first wave.

    Two friends have just returned bto blighty and tell me that nobody makes an effort to wear a mask or distance themselves from others and are against be told what to do.

    They mostly seem to think a vaccine will fix everything, which it won't.

    Where I live everyone wears a mask in public, sanitise their hands going into and out of shops and we all live a fairly normal life. Locally the only new surge was when a family had a visitor from Switzerland, the whole family group of 9 caught it and the village locked down for a fotnight, nothing since and that was a month back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      UK

      This is probably the start of a second wave. It didn't completely die away after the first peak, but deaths had almost stopped and incident rates in most areas were close to zero.

      Many areas now have higher incidents rates than during the first wave (part of that can be attributed to increased testing, but the %positive rates are also higher) and the number of deaths is on the increase. Hospital admissions and ventilator bed occupancy levels are also going up. It looks likely that the daily positive test rates will soon be far in excess of the previous peak (though hopefully the deaths will not follow this trend).

      Most people (at least where I Iive) do also wear masks and attempt to distance. However, there are a significant number (typically in the 20 to 40 age range) who don't, along with a significant number of older people "who don't like being told what to do".

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: UK

        a significant number of older people "who don't like being told what to do".

        That could become a self-limiting problem.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: UK

          I should point out to the downvoters that I'm very definitely an older person (as is my wife who has the additional risk factor of type 2 diabetes). I also have an aversion to being told what to do which goes back at least to compulsory Latin in school.

          OTOH I recognise serious warnings and advice for what they are. I also spent half my working life as a biologist well able to look at things from the point of view of the species rather than the individual.

          So when, the other day, I heard some nuppit probably the best part of a decade younger and possibly with drink taken, effing and blinding to the door attendant at Morrisons about restrictions I had no problem placing him as part of the problem, not the solution.

          The downside of this, of course, is that a Darwin award for such individuals is that it's too late to have a real effect on the gene pool.

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: UK

            While I agree with a lot of what you say, I also live in a country (Vietnam) that has had I think technically 4 waves, and as much as you can argue its an anecdotal observation by me, masks and handwashing do work.

            But from what I understand from talking to my friends and family in the UK, there are plenty of older people ignoring taking precautions just as much.

            I haven't voted you either way, but that is a huge generalisation to say its a generation is the fault, it would be better described as a subset of idiots in each generation.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: UK

              Hand-washing was part of the early instructions here along with lock-down but not masks. The package as a whole resulted in transmission rates falling abruptly

              From a population point of view its a matter of numbers. If a given set of precautions is sufficient to bring R below 1 in a given situation then it will reduce the numbers of infections. If that happened in Vietnam for one particular set of precautions, fine*. Another set worked here in the UK.

              From an individual point of view things are different. Family in my generation and our friends are at heightened risk due to age and possibly other health conditions. Mere hand-washing probably wouldn't have sufficed for us so we have had very limited contact with others and by-and-large are maintaining that.

              I think what's happening now is much the same as the aftermath of Y2K. Then we had people saying it was a false alarm because nothing went wrong when we know that nothing went wrong because a genuine alarm was heeded. We now have people thinking that because they caught nothing up to now it was a fuss about nothing.

              Yes there are idiots of all ages. The OP's comment, however, singled out young people and a group of older people of a certain attitude. The latter are at risk because of a combination of their age, which they can no more help than I can, and their attitude which they can do something about. If they choose to act foolishly my sympathy lies entirely with those to whom they pass on infections.

              * I wonder what the age distribution is in Vietnam. In a predominantly young population the level of illness, if not of actual infections, might be lower n any case.

              1. Triggerfish

                Re: UK

                Actually it was referencing your downvoted and now deleted comment where you did initially single out the younger generation.

                Median age in Vietnam is about 10 yrs younger than the UK, and it is a young population. But at the same time vectors to granny and grandad may have been quite high due to families living together so much under the same roof, plus plenty out and about in the street working.

                TBH I think there was no 100% effective way of stopping it, more a death by a thousand cuts, such as fast contact tracing, fast and rapid no nonsense quarantine in infected areas, masks, etc etc. Vietnam just starting hitting all those ways early. Closing schools in Jan may have been a game changer.

                The elderly patients who survived before the Da Nang wave (which hit a hospital of elderly kidney patients), had a medical service that wasn't overwhelmed and backing from the gov of 'no one dies', which meant the care they got was probably exceptional. The elderly population here also seems quite fit, go out at 5am and they're all going for a big walk, riding a bike, doing some form of exercise, the ones in the countryside are just tough as old boots.

        2. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: UK

          That was so in the first wave, but if Barcelona is anything to go by the second wave of covid cases does not go hand in hand with SARS and death rates.

          Time to end this nonsense IMHO. We flattened the curve. We have better treatment. People (outside the UK) all wear masks. Covid no longer has a scary 10% death rate, (we now know it never did)

          I was a full supporter of lockdown and all the initial measures, but now we know more.

          Like this app, govt response is too little too late. Dealing with the situation now requires a different approach.

          Not lockdown after the horse has bolted.

        3. JohnMurray

          Re: UK

          If you are on your own, there is a miniscule risk of becoming infected.

        4. Gnomalarta
          Unhappy

          Re: UK

          "a significant number of older people "who don't like being told what to do".

          That could become a self-limiting problem."

          Or rampant ageism.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: UK

        Hospital admissions are probably the best thing to look at if you want consistent measurement over the past 6 months. They do however tend to lag cases, and are less sensitive to increases in infection rates in younger people.

        For England, they peaked at 2910 on 1st April, and from that point declined at around 3% per day to 25 on 22 August. They are now increasing at around 8% per day, and the most recent number we have is 275 on 21st September.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      In the UK the vast majority people wear masks in shops and indoor public places, hand sanitizer is available on entry and exit of most shops, all the big chains. Most are distancing, but wearing masks outdoors when moving is less popular and probably less useful. So I don’t know which part of Blighty your friends went back to but “nobody” is a big lie,

      1. _LC_ Silver badge
        Stop

        Never mind

        Never mind all the studies showing that neither masks, nor lock-downs, nor (a)social distancing had any influence. Other respiratory viruses spread normally within the various control groups. Just as every year. But hey - fuck facts, go fascism go!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Never mind

          So it's just a coincidence that figures show that when lockdown started earlier in the year R fell abruptly and started to climb gradually as it was eased in steps? What was that about "fuck facts"?

          1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: Never mind

            Correlation is not causation.

            The differences in how Covid spread in different countries can’t be explained by lockdowns as those were very different in different countries.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Never mind all the studies

          Please provide links to any studies that aren't the work of lunatics, charlatans, or both. And continue to advocate for the concept that freedom not to wear a scrap of cloth on your face is more important then the freedom to be protected from your lethal germs. Have you considered a bumper sticker along the lines of "I'll wear a mask when they force it onto my cold, dead face"?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Never mind all the studies.. here are some to research..

            > Please provide links to any studies that aren't the work of lunatics, charlatans, or both. And continue to advocate for the concept that freedom not to wear a scrap of cloth on your face is more important then the freedom to be protected from your lethal germs. Have you considered a bumper sticker along the lines of "I'll wear a mask when they force it onto my cold, dead face"

            Suggest you use trusty old google to search for the published literature on aerosols and airborne particles carrying infectious agents and their sizes for the various respiratory illnesses common symptom - sneezing, wet coughs, dry coughs etc. Then the size of respiratory aerosols from tidal breathing. Note that only sneezing and tidal breathing breathing aerosols are less than < 2 micron. All the rest > 2 microns. Wet coughs > 10 micron airborne particles and dry coughs produce very little airborne particles. Thats why its called a dry cough.

            Now as active SARs CoV 2 infections dont produce sneezing and wet coughs, just dry coughs, the main mode of close proximity airborne transmission is tidal breathing respiratory aerosols. All < 2 micron.

            Now here is where it gets interesting. Face masks (not face coverings - utterly useless) have some protective function with large > 10 micro airborne particles, from wet coughs and repeated sneezing from upper respiratory infections, but give ZERO protection against < 2 micro airborne particles. ZERO. Four layer surgical masks are rated as N20 (stops 20%) for < 2 micron. But only when dry. Now N95 and N99 masks actually do act as an effective barrier against < 2 micron airborne aerosols.

            Thats the actual published science. And why western governments rubbished the wearing of face masks by the general population for so many months until they totally reversed their position for reasons of pure political expediency. No other. The science did not change.

            So do you have your N95 or N99 respirator mask? Worn correctly? I do. I wear it when required so as not to make the employees job even more miserable. Even though all faces masks worn in a public place are just a placebo. Thats the actual published science.

            Now wearing N20 masks at home when someone has respiratory illness symptoms, as is the recommendation in Taiwan and South Korea by their CDC's , that actually has some real science behind it. HKU Med School and other have published some interesting papers on that subject. Wearing N20's actually does make a measurable dent in a cluster outbreak R0.

            I got my N99's back in February when it looked like the IFR = CFR for SARS 1 was going to be replicated for SARs 2. Then the first real data was published by the South Koreans in March and confirmed by the Taiwanese in April and it turned out the SARs CoV 2 IFR was in the same ballpark as other HCOV's like 229E and OC43.

            So yeah, wearing face-masks outside of the home and when not in the company of someone with active symptoms is a completely fatuous waste of time. According to the published literature.

            1. Dr Dan Holdsworth
              Boffin

              Re: Never mind all the studies.. here are some to research..

              A standard surgical mask is not very effective at filtering out any corona virus (influenza is a member of the corona virus family) normally, but when soaked in a solution of common salt plus a mild detergent like polysorbate 20 and dried again, then something magical happens.

              The salt forms a layer on the polyester fibres of the mask. When a micro-aerosol happens to hit such a salt-coated fibre, it sticks and dehydrates rapidly. This deactivates the viruses therein permanently. Thus it is actually possible to make surgical masks into effective anti-virus filters.

              That the government hasn't insisted on this is simple: it isn't actually necessary. The point of masks and face coverings are to limit the spread of aerosols; this cuts down the transmission rate of the virus. The infection severity for covid and other similar viruses is dose-dependent; a low amount of virus will cause no symptoms in the majority of cases and give some immunity to future infections.

              Most of the deaths from covid have been where the patient has had repeated exposure to lots of virus. This causes more severe infection and much worse outcomes for the patient. This is why the advice is a lockdown, social distancing, and wearing masks to limit the amount of virus floating about in the environment.

              As to the future, I do not think that this virus is going to mutate all that quickly. It is an animal virus that jumped species from bats to humans, presumably with one or more intermediates. There isn't the huge biological library of new genes for it to draw on like there is with influenza, which is both a bird disease and a mammal disease, and circulates freely between wild birds, domestic fowl, pigs and humans (all this in China, usually). No, we'll just have the few variants of covid that are about now and nothing much will change, until we sort out a vaccine.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Never mind all the studies.. here are some to research..

                Someone has not been reading the published literature it seems.

                HCOV's are not related to Influenza A/B

                Soaking in salt has zero effect on absorption of < 2 micro repository aerosols.

                Symptomatic infection rates with SARs CoV 2 has little to do with viral density and everything to do with the state of the persons immune system. Especial strength of cross immunity due to recent infection from other HCOV's. Like OC43. Total infection rate is relative to total exposure over time , higher local density due to lack of air circulation etc just increases the probability of infection, not the nature or strength of the infection. Thats one of the mysteries of all airborne respiratory infections, not just HCOV's. Some people get infected at DPI 50's of 10^5 / Meter^3 in 1 min, others at 10^3 / Meter^3. And other still no infection even after 90 min exposure to 10^5 viral densities.. All other variables being equal. Then there is the mystery of huge variation in viral shedding rates. About 5 orders of magnitude.

                Death rate from SARs CoV 2 severe viral pneumonia (not secondary infections or comorbidities) is totally dependent on the persons CURB-65 score, nothing else.

                There are no successful corona-virus vaccines. For exactly the same reasons there are no rhinovirus vaccines. Low efficacy / high risk of side effects. Actually not quite correct. There are corona-virus vaccines for some domestic animal diseases. But thats only because domestic animals cannot bring product liability suite.

          2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: Never mind all the studies

            Are you sure wearing masks is not an advice from charlatans?

            1. Sam_B.

              Re: Never mind all the studies

              The charlatans did their best to avoid advising masks, and were making a point of shaking hands and going to large gatherings, until they got it themselves.

              The advice from charlatans to avoid is the advice that it's safe to go back to work or to the pub, or get on public transport; this advice was purely designed to start making money and nothing to do with the actual safety of the general public.

        3. steelpillow Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Never mind

          But hey - fuck facts, go fascism go!

          You know, when I see how many hard-nosed skeptical Reg readers show such skepticism of fuck-witted skeptics by downvoting them, it does my heart good - even in these benighted times.

          FWIW A biologist friend spent some time lecturing me on the facts (TM) of how Covid's behaviour is different from common respiratory viruses and why measures targeted at Covid were far less effective against the rest. But hey fuckwit, fuck the facts, eh?

          1. _LC_ Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Never mind

            *lol*

            Covid-19 is magical. It behaves differently from all the other Corona viruses. Need to fetch my wand...

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Never mind

              Remember that humans are a novel environment for this virus. It hasn't had the evolutionary time to adapt that older respiratory viruses have. What's more, the availability of medical treatment will have greatly reduced the deaths of individual hosts so the selection pressure is much reduced. The likelihood is that it will evolve.

              1. JohnMurray

                Re: Never mind

                "However, SARS-CoV-2 and its coronavirus cousins are unique among RNA viruses, because they have a proofreading enzyme. “The coronavirus genomes are three times longer than you’d expect them to be, and the presence of the proofreading enzyme explains that nicely,” says Katherine Spindler, Ph.D., professor in the department of microbiology and immunology. Spindler is a host for the podcast “This Week in Virology,” which examines the latest science around SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses.

                “With this enzyme, the virus can make a few more errors and not have it be lethal for the virus.” As a result, SARS-CoV-2 mutates more slowly than other RNA viruses. Spindler notes that only about 20 mutations have been retained in the genome so far since the beginning of 2020, despite the billions of times the virus has replicated"

            2. alr1970

              Re: Never mind

              The virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an "enveloped" virus, it has a fatty membrane around it. That makes it vulnerable to soap, which is why we've been asked to wash our hands, because soap literally rips it apart and renders it harmless. It doesn't just wash the virus off, it destroys it.

              Some other viruses that cause human respiratory disease do not have this envelope and are not susceptible to destruction via hand-washing. Those viruses are still spreading, because they are more robust outside the body and persist for longer, which is why I had a proper sneezy cold last week despite all my efforts at hand-washing, distancing and mask-wearing. But, hey, I haven't had a symptomatic case of Covid-19 yet, which was my goal.

              https://virologydownunder.com/rhinovirus-rampant-or-testing-triumphant

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Never mind

              > It behaves differently from all the other Corona viruses.

              It does behave differently! COVID is truly unique in that it can trigger a loss of thinking in a proportion of the uninfected. For this group, a face mask - preferably a gag - is needed to stop them blathering their nonsense over everyone else.

              1. Sam_B.

                Re: Never mind

                But unfortunately, they are the very people who refuse to wear one.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Boffin

          Re: Never mind

          So, OK, social distancing makes no difference, right? If I, for instance stay a mile away from any other human being at all times, I'll still get a cold or 'flu, right? Because, I suppose, the 'theory' that these diseases are spread by tiny little viruses is just, you know, a theory, spread by those horrid science people.

          1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: Never mind

            Someone has to bring you food, do they? And you need to do something useful to be able to pay for it.

            So your idea of actually living in a world where there is “social distancing” is a fiction.

        5. Dominic_

          Re: Never mind

          So if I understand you correctly, this virus can transmit magically - can I catch it over the internet?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Joke

            Re: Never mind

            No, you are safe from the internet as there is anti-virus technology. This technology is particularly strong on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook have recently started washing all their internets with bleach which makes them even safer.

            However you must be very careful about your phone. Phones use work using radiation you see, and viruses transmit very easily by radiation and there is no anti-virus. The 5G kind is particularly dangerous.

            1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: Never mind

              But now we have an app for it, it can propagate over bluetooth !

          2. teknopaul Silver badge

            Re: Never mind

            If you use Amazon, initially it came into the country via Aliexpress.

            1. very angry man

              Re: Never mind

              It came very slowly, some of my orders are hitting 120 day to delivery

          3. katrinab Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Never mind

            Only over 5G internet, apparently. So says YouTube, who have lots of videos on the subject, and take down Thunderf00t's videos which say the opposite.

        6. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Never mind

          Never mind all the studies showing that neither masks, nor lock-downs, nor (a)social distancing had any influence.

          Those studies you're reading about on Facebook don't count.

        7. Triggerfish

          Re: Never mind

          What studies please, and how do they hold up to the counter studies?

          I'm just asking because were i am (Vietnam) we have no lockdown now, no community transmission, no restrictions, of course everyone wore masks and washed hands when they needed to.

          Fast government response helps, but people actually being rational is a big factor as well. I mean its a cloth covering you have to wear it for a few weeks, or do you go out and protest that you have to wear pants as well?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Never mind

            >do you go out and protest that you have to wear pants as well?

            Most certainly do. My ancestors were oppressed by the hated English for daring to wear skirts and no knickers.

            Even today if I go out having forgotten to put on the kilt I get funny looks.

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: Never mind

              I've been working with yanks to long. I meant pants as in trousers, or trooosers or breeks as you highlanders would say.

              Kilts are also ok but agreed no pants (UK definition), how will have the devils in skirts otherwise?

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-3dqb1izAo

          2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: Never mind

            I am enjoying the work from home and trousers optional lifestyle :-)

            If any colleagues are reading - I do wear trousers in working hours, whether there is a video meeting today or not.

            Less so at the weekend, and I'd better remember when I am going to the shops!

        8. GruntyMcPugh

          Re: Never mind

          @_LC_ : "go fascism go!"

          You pay taxes. You pay for your goods. You drive on the appropriate side of the road, and stick to speed limits. You wear clothes, and don't defecate in the street. All of these things are part of living in a civilised society, just like wearing a mask to prevent the spread of a potentially deadly disease is. It's not fascism, it's civility.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Never mind

            >You drive on the appropriate side of the road

            I most certainly do - just because some treasonous colonials chose to disregard ancient laws and drive on the 'French' side of the road, I see no reason to give up my sovereign rights as an Englishman.

            You wouldn't believe the fuss these excitable foreigners make about.

        9. JohnMurray

          Re: Never mind

          Ok Mr Icke. Got it.

        10. Chris 3

          Re: Never mind

          > all the studies

          Ah yes. All those studies. So many so... you just made those up, didn't you?

        11. David Roberts

          Re: Never mind - Long Covid

          Noting that the thread seems to be 10% about the App and the rest about general Covd denialism.

          Everyone is focussing on the death rate. The assumption seems to be that not-dead equates to fit and well.

          There are allegedly over 600,000 (possibly a lot more) suffering from major long term debilitating effects from a Covid infection. Many of them young.

          IMHO the numbers for risk evaluation should be "dead or seriously injured" vs "fully recovered".

          A flaky analogy, but possibly like evaluating the results of road traffic accidents and classing "non dead" as an acceptable outcome. Which would include spinal injuries and serious brain damage plus amputations and other such trivial outcomes.

          At least accident statistics usually include dead, seriously injured, life changing injuries.

        12. Sam_B.

          Re: Never mind

          I must admit I haven't come across these studies you refer to. The ones I've been reading largely suggest that masks of pretty well any sort, and certainly proper well fitted ones, considerably reduce the chances of you passing the COVID19 virus to other people, and that social distancing at 2m is also effective in reducing the spread in both directions. It is pretty obvious that the fewer moisture containing micro droplets from your breath that reach another person, either by attenuation or by distance, the less chance they have of catching anything from you. It is possible that the massive drop off in cases after lockdown started was a complete coincidence, but what makes you think that coming in to contact with far fewer people isn't going to reduce your chances of catching something from someone, and of course, the even more rapid increase of the number of cases after people went back to pubs and other social interactions must also be a coincidence.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Where I live and the shops I have been in it's probably about a 60/40 split, 60% wearing, 40% not. Observing social distancing about the same. Absolutely no staff wearing masks. Whether that changes from today only time will tell. This is Manchester btw which as we know is a hotspot.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Many of the idiots I see in shops seem to believe that the mask can be worn under the nose, or under the chin. The whole point that these protect OTHER people, not yourself, seems to have been missed (or ignored) by them.

          1. KarMann Silver badge
            FAIL

            Points missed

            Also in Manchester ('also' referring to the AC before you), I even saw one chap on the tram not only wearing it under his nose, but pulling it aside to get it out of the way when he sneezed. Now that's missing the point!

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Points missed

              "Now that's missing the point!"

              But not missing other people.

      3. Mike 137 Silver badge

        "wearing masks outdoors when moving"

        Even the new regulations don't require this (section headed When to wear a face covering). It's only required in enclosed spaces, including all forms of (enclosed) transport, which actually makes sense supposing masks help, as you'll be much closer to others in a taxi than in a supermarket.

        1. Gordon861

          Re: "wearing masks outdoors when moving"

          Masks in taxis and mini cabs ... but no mask required if you can afford a chauffeur.

          1. Sam_B.

            Re: "wearing masks outdoors when moving"

            A personal chauffeur would tend to be part of your bubble, especially if upholding the tradition of servicing the wife for you as well.

      4. hoola Silver badge

        You should come to Blaby in Leicestershire,

        No social distancing and yoofs totally ignoring everything. At the petrol stations/convenience shops the majority don't even bother with masks. Staff in shops are powerless to enforce the rules as they just get huge amount of abuse.

        Probably only 1 in 10 use the available hand sanitiser when it is available and from what I see this is not a case of people using their own, they simply don't bother.

    3. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

      Ups and downs...

      As waves are defined by ups and downs it's safe to say that the first wave is defined by the first up and down. Which are clearly over as we are unfortunately at the start of the next up.

      Defining the start of the second wave.

      We are nowhere near the numbers of the first wave, but if we don't do anything it will go exponential and we will have a second wave as bad as the first.

      Thankfully measures are in place - people do wear masks, people do social distance, and people are largely obeying the rules.

      The issue is that the rules are constantly changing... and some people don't believe they apply to them (thanks to Cummings).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        (thanks to Cummings)

        Reminds me - I need to get my eyes tested.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: (thanks to Cummings)

          Failing to sack Cummings on the spot once it emerged what he'd been up to was a gross error. HMG has lost a good deal of credibility.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: (thanks to Cummings)

            Disagree.

            HMG can't lose what it never had to begin with ...

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: (thanks to Cummings)

              Point taken. Nevertheless I think the Cummings incident and failure to deal with it was a turning point. Call it authority, respect, credibility or whatever; up to that point public opinion was supportive. Now Covidiots have a certain degree of licence. It will take a massive increase in death toll to get that support back.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: (thanks to Cummings)

                >>Now Covidiots have a certain degree of licence. It will take a massive increase in death toll to get that support back

                Which was preciesly what Cummings did what he did. He knew he was going to be found out. Its also why he wasn't sacked. HIs policy of 'Herd Immunity', aka Darwinisation, has been his wet dream since forever. He has, by his actions, ensured that it continues apace.

              2. Sam_B.

                Re: (thanks to Cummings)

                The Cummings incident was certainly a turning point, and personally I don't see it as accidental, given that Cummings has always promoted the "herd immunity" approach, and until his little outings (the second required because no-one really noticed the first) people were still being sensible and not taking many risks even though the lockdown had been loosened.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Boffin

              Re: (thanks to Cummings)

              I disagree. Although I'm, shall we say, not a fan of the Johnson-Cummings axis, I found the behaviour of the government (about CV19 only) relatively convincing in the early days of CV19. I think I was wrong to be convinced, but I was convinced.

              When Johnson didn't sack Cummings that just completely collapsed. Indeed I wrote and ran some (fairly mindless) simulations to try and model how many people they would kill due to the weakened compliance due to what Cummings did and what Johnson then did not do: I could not get the number below about 2,000 people, and it was easy to get it much higher. There must be people running better simulations getting real numbers for the Cummings-Johnson effect, but I am confident they'll be thousands of people.

              So, yeah, I did have confidence and so, I think, did lots of people. That's gone now: Cummings and Johnson will, I am sure, argue that they are not mass murderers but I will always regard them as such.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: (thanks to Cummings)

                If you ever meet up with either of them you can give them a good knock round the head. If anyone questions you on it just point out that you only broke the law in a specific and limited way, so its fine.

              2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                Re: (thanks to Cummings)

                Cummings does not work for Johnson. Johnson works for Cummings. Do you think Johnson got where he is on his colleagues' respect or his popularity?

                1. DJO Silver badge

                  Et tu Domte

                  Don't worry, the very millisecond Cummings realizes that Johnson is a liability, he'll be first in the queue to stab him in the back (metaphorically, probably).

                  1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

                    Re: Et tu Domte

                    Watching Boris Johnson's speech, his emphasis that no one gets to break the rules did sound like if Cummings gets caught again, he'll have to be sacked. Indeed I was impressed by Mr Johnson's speech. It is as if he is at last taking the pandemic seriously, and not expecting to be able to shrug it off. He was even talking to the Welsh and Scottish assembly leaders before making the announcement. Others were less impressed than I was, of course, but then I'm probably an idiot.

                    Of course, whether the newly imposed measures will actually work in the UK we will only know in time, but pinning our hopes on an effective vaccine some time in 2021 is worrying as the immune response only seems to last four or five months at the most.

                    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
                      Alert

                      Re: Et tu Domte

                      "if Cummings gets caught again, he'll have to be sacked"

                      There is a simple solution. In the interest of the greater public safety and confidence, Cummings is hauled back up to the garden in Downing St, and in front of the assembled press/live TV coverage, is fitted with one of those ankle bracelet tracking devices. If he strays out of the designated area, the monitoring company (G4S?) are to be instructed to pass the information on his location to the press immediately

                  2. 96percentchimp

                    Re: Et tu Domte

                    I tend to think that Johnson-Cummings is a symbiotic co-dependency. Cummings is a charisma-free brain leech; Johnson is a brain-free charismatic ghoul. Neither can progress without the other; together they are extremely powerful and dangerous.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: (thanks to Cummings)

            >Failing to sack Cummings .... HMG has lost a good deal of credibility.

            Who in the government could sack Cummings? Whats the English for 'L'etat c'est moi' ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: (thanks to Cummings)

              Dieu et mon droit!

              1. Ken Shabby
                Big Brother

                Re: (thanks to Cummings)

                Droit de seigneur

            2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Re: (thanks to Cummings)

              There is more chance of Cummings telling Boris to get on his bike

        2. Dippywood

          Re: (thanks to Cummings)

          Make sure you drive to the test - and take the family along too...

        3. anthonyhegedus

          Re: (thanks to Cummings)

          My local eye test castle has a long waiting list, I might have to take my family and a few friends on a long-distance drive to one in another country. And you don't need to wear masks, because it gives you carbon monoxide poisoning.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: (thanks to Cummings)

            >My local eye test castle has a long waiting list,

            You would hope that by putting aristocrat Tories in power you would be assured of sufficient new castles being built

      2. Sam 15

        Re: Ups and downs...

        Quote

        "As waves are defined by ups and downs it's safe to say that the first wave is defined by the first up and down. Which are clearly over as we are unfortunately at the start of the next up.

        Defining the start of the second wave."

        / End Quote.

        <Looks at "COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)" - United Kingdom - graph for Daily Cases>

        Mate. This had better not just be the start of the second wave since we've just hit the highest number to date.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Geography!

      I think attitudes to the virus in the UK are a combination of geography, age and practicality. Living in a semi-rural shire people self distance, mask wearing compliance is high enough in shops that someone not wearing a mask is quite shocking. But we are spaced out (spatially!) already. Went up to inner city London a few weeks ago and it felt scarily crowded and complacent. But social distancing is a LOT easier working from home in a detached house backing onto fields in a village than it is commuting by bus to a minimum wage job from your bed-sit in the city

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Based on every I read and hear from the UK, there is no second wave, it is still in the ups and downs of the first wave."

      I think this is a reasonable interpretation. Apply various mitigation measures, R goes down, disapply them R goes up. In this context "waves" seem to be more PR than anything else. AFAICS what's happening is that the govt. is trying to apply such measures and work out which have least adverse economic and political effects. The feedback from any change is sufficiently delayed that the level of infections will go up and down.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They mostly seem to think a vaccine will fix everything, which it won't.

      So what will? Lockdown is only a temporary measure which does economic and social damage, and (as we're seeing everywhere) has no long-term effect. There was a hope that the virus mght fizzle naturally, as SARS and MERS did, but that hasn't happened. A second lockdown won't change that.

      Right now immunity is the only way to go, either from a vaccine or naturally, and natural immunity means letting it escape slowly enough to control it and protect the vulnerable while 60% or so catch it & recover.

      Where I live everyone wears a mask in public, sanitise their hands going into and out of shops and we all live a fairly normal life.

      And where is that? I'm in France, and we're seeing new cases rising at 2x the UK rate, young people refusing to wear masks when they're socialising, and regions threatening legal action to block further lockdowns. Much like the UK, in fact.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Right now immunity is the only way to go, either from a vaccine or naturally, and natural immunity means letting it escape slowly enough to control it and protect the vulnerable while 60% or so catch it & recover.

        I believe that humanity has never previously developed immunity to a coronavirus previously - through vaccination or infection - and reports are already emerging of patients with a second infection (different viral strain) in some cases worse than the first.

        If R0 is 5.7 (from CDC estimates), then it needs 87% of the UK population to have been infected/vaccinated and have immunity to reach herd immunity levels. Unfortunately, 14 million people (~20%) in UK are pensioners or have underlying health issues, which leaves us with a slight dilemma...

        1. Lon24 Silver badge

          "If R0 is 5.7 (from CDC estimates), then it needs 87% of the UK population to have been infected/vaccinated and have immunity to reach herd immunity levels. Unfortunately, 14 million people (~20%) in UK are pensioners or have underlying health issues, which leaves us with a slight dilemma..."

          72% of UK pensioners turn up every year to have their flu-jab. I think most are rather more frightened of Covid-19 than the flu so it could go much higher. Annual jabs may be the norm. The fade-away being detected with re-infection suggests that annual jabs may be the only way to get and maintain herd immunity rather than depending on letting it grow through letting the infection spread.

          I'm not sure where you get the different viral strain issue. The G & D major variants have AFAIK shown no difference in mortality but are mainly markers in how Covid-19 spread geographically.

          1. KarMann Silver badge
            Boffin

            The different strain is significant because it's how they know for sure that a patient is catching it again, and it's not just the earlier infection flaring up again. Nothing to do with how bad they might be to catch, comparatively, just identification.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "I believe that humanity has never previously developed immunity to a coronavirus previously"

          That's not a testable hypothesis. If it has the virus will now be extinct and we'd be none the wiser.

          We do, however, have several coronaviruses that cause mild diseases*. What's the nature of this interaction? Did they start off as equally lethal and evolve to respond to some sort of control from the host so as not to kill off the latter?

          * And the current coronavirus, like others, is not lethal in its original host.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Natural selection, those mutations of the virus which survived were ones which didn't kill off their hosts. There are reports that the case mortality rate of Covid in Europe is lower now than it was in March.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Good. We need to be thinking of how to apply selective pressure. Without an effective vaccination regime to eliminate the virus (and there are enough idiots to prevent it) having it reduced to something as benign as a cold is going to be the only long-term solution.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Unfortunately you have to let it run rampant through the population so it mutates and that means more deaths.

                1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

                  It has already killed a proportion of the elderly in the UK's 'Care Homes', due to someone telling hospitals to send old folks home without checking for infection. It does sound harsh, but those people cannot die again, so the opportunity for that cohort to exhibit the same level of mortality has hopefully gone. The mother of one fo my friends, in her 90's (the mother, not the friend), has survived Covid-19 in her care home.

            2. 96percentchimp

              Unfortunately there's no gurantee that lower mortality is a function of mutation: the first wave significantly affected the most vulnerable end of the population, and there is a now an effective range of treatments which can reduce mortality.

          2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Previous host immunity?

            "And the current coronavirus, like others, is not lethal in its original host."

            Do we know that? We know bat viruses are common (amongst bats), but the fact is that the case mortality rate of Covid-19 in wild bats is near impossible to ascertain. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > If R0 is 5.7 (from CDC estimates), then it needs 87% of the UK population to have been infected/vaccinated and have immunity to reach herd immunity levels. Unfortunately, 14 million people (~20%) in UK are pensioners or have underlying health issues, which leaves us with a slight dilemma...

          The R0 is nowhere near 5.7. The original estimates in HK and Singapore in January were 2.2/2.5 but the first actual hard data out of South Korea and Taiwan in March / April, (since confirmed) are R0 of 1.5 in cluster spread and R0 of 1.2 in community spread. So about the same as other human corona-viruses like 229E and OC43. Or a novel Influenza like H1N1-09.

          The reason why the models from Imperial College in March onwards were complete and utter junk is because they plucked some arbitrary R0 out of thin air (3.5 to 4) with zero clinical or literature support from that number. So GIGO.

          With a community spread R0 of around 1.2 the actual population infection equilibrium point is around 35% / 40%. About the same as the human corona-virues that cause about 20% of common colds. About the same IFR as well. But we wont go into that particular subject. Yet.

          As for risk of death, low CURB-65 score equals basically zero risk. Just like with all other viruses that can cause sever viral pneumonia. There are quite a few of them.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I live in France as well. As a general rule, since the beginning of all the hoopla I have found my compatriots to generally be of the obedient persuasion. When walking outside there are people who wear masks in the local cities. In my village, that is not the case, but social distancing is observed. People walking their dogs cross each other on the opposite side of the road. If they are acquainted, they stop and chat, but the road is between them.

        In shops, everyone wears the mask.

        This is a far cry from the reputation of the average Frenchman, who scorns authority and rebukes government directives. It is the Esprit Gaulois and we persuade ourselves that we are all little Asterix and the government and police are the Romans. We are convinced that any invader would leave after a while because "we are ungovernable".

        Well I don't see any of that spirit in the streets these days. That said, I live in Moselle, a stone's throw from the German border. Maybe there's a bit of German discipline overflowing the border bit by bit, like an invisible fog.

        1. TimMaher Silver badge
          Pint

          Moselle

          ... and you are in a great wine producing region.

          Nearest I can get ———->>

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't know why the downvotes. I've been stuck in the UK these past 3 weeks and have also observed the lack of distancing and mask wearing. Most people appear to just not give a monkey's.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I guess it must vary from place to place. Round here (southeast outside London) compliance appears to be > 90%.

  4. Dave K Silver badge

    Scotland

    The article should be tweaked a little here - Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own apps and have for a few weeks now, hence it's just England and Wales that this app is for.

    I'm interested to see just what data this app sends and how it compares with the other apps in use elsewhere in the UK. The Scotland one for example apparently just generates anonymous codes for people and cross-references those for matches. Hence it supposedly doesn't send any identifiable information, nor location data. Would be interesting to know first of all if this is really true, and secondly how the England/Wales app fares in comparison.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anonymous codes

      That's how the Apple / Google framework operates (and it only uses each code for a limited time) - there is no need to collect anything else...

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Anonymous codes

        Since when is actual need ever a criteria in data harvesting though, when the possibility presents itself?

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Scotland

      Would be interesting to hear how useful the app has proven to be in Scotland. Launched with a fanfare, it's all gone quiet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scotland

        Same in France. No indication at all if it's working, whch would suggest that it isn't since government would be making a big fuss about how wonderful it is if it were doing anything useful. I rather suspect it's just "medical theatre", to show that "someone is doing something".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scotland

        They had a piece on the news about it this morning. They said they had > million downloads and were fairly happy with how it was going. Usage was high enough to make a difference to track and trace, albeit Scotland's T&T is way better than England's already.

        I'm frustrated that it's taken 6 months, frustrated that they didn't launch a dumbed down version for older phones (could still do QR codes, symptom tracker advice etc) but mostly frustrated about people carping it's not perfect. It doesn't cost anything apart from, maybe, having to charge your phone half an hour earlier. It provides a small incremental gain in our ability as a society to control the virus, and enough small incremental gains can add up to some success. It provides some personal protection, to you as an individual in assessing the probability that your cough and fever is a potentially deadly virus, and to family and friends if you self isolate, or even if you do it half-assedly and decide, at least, to put off visiting granny for a fortnight.

        1. AW-S

          Re: Scotland

          "track and trace"

          Didn't that mutate to Test and Trace? Today it seems to be mutating to "Test, Track and Trace".

    3. Christoph

      Re: Scotland

      The England/Wales app is World Beating.

      Therefore it's better than anyone else's.

      Therefore it's World Beating.

    4. Screwed

      Re: Scotland

      And how well the apps work for people who travel across the UK borders.

      (Not sure right now if that should include Kent, or not?)

      1. UCAP Silver badge

        Re: Scotland

        You have to have a copy of each app, and switch from one to the other when you cross the border. Bet that that is going to work so well!

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Scotland

          Good job i dont work in the gretna chase hotel like my mate does. That straddles the border....

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Scotland

        They interact with each other. Certainly the Irish and Northern Irish apps do, and I believe that is the case for anything that uses the Google/Apple framework.

        Kent uses the same app as England, so definitely no problems there.

        1. Screwed

          Re: Scotland

          My Kent comment was meant to be (slightly) humourous.

          Brexit: Lorry drivers will need a permit to enter Kent after transition period

          Truck drivers will need a permit to enter Kent after the Brexit transition period ends, the government has said.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54260470

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Scotland

            Brexit: Lorry drivers will need a permit to enter Kent after transition period

            I'm sure the residents of the "Garden of England" will be delighted. They tried to stop the Eurostar because they didn't want the noisy train, getting all those lorries off the roads as well will be heaven.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scotland

              Leave accounted for ~59% of the vote in Kent and nearly all of the constituencies there returned Tory MPs.

              They're getting what they voted for so fuck 'em.

              (downvote away)

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Scotland

              "getting all those lorries off the roads as well will be heaven"

              They'll be on the roads alright. Parked. And if they're carrying food there'll be a choice of exhaust fumes to keep the refrigeration going or the smell of decomposition.

            3. Cookie 8

              Re: Scotland

              "Garden of England" soon to be renamed "Cordon of England"

            4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

              Re: Scotland

              "Brexit: Lorry drivers will need a permit to enter Kent after transition period"

              But Boris promised there would be no internal UK borders.

              1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Scotland

                "But Boris promised"

                He would have crossed his fingers behind his back when he said it, and his nose would have increased in length ever so slightly, just like when he signs international treaties

          2. Totally not a Cylon
            Joke

            Re: Scotland

            Yes and we're calling it a Kermit.......

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scotland

        It should include Kent...... We are having our own world-beating border at the end of Q4.

        Plus unfettered access to East Sussex and Greater London unless you're an HGV.

        1. TimMaher Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Scotland

          And East Surrey.

          Don’t forget East Surrey.

  5. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    where does palantir poke its nose into all this?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "We are only just beginning to understand these interactions"

    I happily went to download the app this morning (because society, obv.) but the first time I installed it it was still the beta that needed a code to activate (on a new Android). Uninstalled and tried again and it worked second time. But a friend had the same glitch, and the uninstall - reinstall didn't work.

    1. _LC_ Silver badge

      Re: "We are only just beginning to understand these interactions"

      This reminds me of the (also not really working) German App, where they count each download as "a user". ;-)

  7. Screwed
    Unhappy

    In the eleven hours since I installed it, on my admittedly old iPhone 6s - running IOS 14, I am seeing Exposure Notifications at 7% of battery usage, and NHS COVID-19 at 6%.

    I am at home and very confident there will be no other devices in range. (There are other Bluetooth devices - a tablet, a speaker. But none with exposure notifications on, nor the app installed) So it will not be interchanging data with other phones.

    That is a sizable wodge of battery power. I wonder what the usage will be in a busy location?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was wondering about that and decided to hold off installing until there is some data out there. Yes, I know I can just uninstall it, but I'm not planning on going out for a few days anyway...

    2. thondwe

      That's one of my concerns. The other is the 16 year old age limit - my kids are the only ones who leave the house everyday - parents's working from home - but they are on a bus, then non socially distanced classrooms - so the App would be much more useful there - but if it drains the battery too much... (though my kids both have emergency battery packs already!)

      1. David Gosnell

        If they included kids, the system would melt down and the entire country would be in isolation. The government knows that (they really do not understand school transmission, and are using this term as a test, basically) so best avoid it, huh. Same principle applied to NHS nursing staff testing, with management refusing to allow it in many areas because they knew Covid was endemic and they'd lose all their staff to isolation.

        1. thondwe

          Needs a kids mode - ideally integrated into the Apple (Google) family approval setup - not that most parents will have that working??

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Apart from the question of whether under 16s do or don't need this (and are or aren't allowed to take phones to school etc), there's an issue with them giving out personal information, even anonymised, and making personal decisions about their medical issues. The thing that this app does in order to work.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Whatever they're doing in schools to try to control respiratory disease transmission doesn't appear to be working. Every family of every kid in the local school seems to have a cold 2 weeks after the start of term, just like every other year.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Newish Android, with great battery life. So far the tracker hasn't even used enough battery to register as an app using more than 1% capacity.

        and ffs, if your battery life is that bad a) get a new phone or b) un-install Facebook or Twitter or whatever

        1. Screwed

          Maybe the Android version simply uses less battery?

          Yes - am intending to get a new phone. But hardly going to get an 11 when the 12 range is round the corner. Even if only in the hope of lower costs for the 11 - or X - models.

          And there must be an awful lot of people using older/less powerful phones. They shouldn't be excluded.

          I take the allegation that I use facebook very seriously. I demand satisfaction - lightning bolts at dawn.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Apology

            I apologise it was a totally unwarranted slur (I thought I shouldn't mention Tinder...)

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

              Re: Apology

              (I thought I shouldn't mention Tinder...)

              Don't you mean GRNDR?

              ;o)

        2. ibmalone Silver badge

          My phone is on android 9, with bluetooth and location on for the stop covid ni app battery drain is noticeably up, I usually could get 3 days light use out, with those features on for covid notification I get about 1.5 days. No, I don't have twitter installed and facebook while pre-installed is never used. Turn off bluetooth or location and battery life goes back up, there's only one system that needs both on to operate. The app itself doesn't actually register as using any battery power, but I've never found those stats to be at all accurate.

          So it will be interesting to see whether NHS Covid 19 does the same thing. I don't know why your experience is different. Older android have the notification feature through a google play services update, and this may mean it operates differently in regard of power saving. I also have a relatively compact phone which is normally in a battery saving mode, maybe covid notifications screw that up while those with slabs don't notice any difference.

    3. AlanC

      I've just looked on my iPhone 11. I installed the app at about 9am and it's now 4.30pm. During that time the battery has gone from 99% to 87% - i.e. 12% of the battery capacity used in 7.5 hours.. Of this, it appears that Exposure Notifications used 9% and the NHS Covid-19 app 3% - 12% of the total usage, taken together.

      So, if I'm interpreting these stats correctly, that means that the app has used 12% of 12% in 7.5 hours. That's 1.44% of total charge in that time, suggesting about 4.6% in 24 hours.

      Interestingly, I think someone in the app description it suggested it might use about 5% per day - which is remarkably close to my calculation.

    4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Don't quote me but I think battery usage will be the same in Oxford Street or the Outer Hebrides - your phone will be bleeping its presence continually to neighbours and listening for other bleeps, whether there are any or not, and I expect that most of the power use is in transmitting, ask the BBC...

  8. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo
    Paris Hilton

    United? Kingdom

    I know a little about devolution and relative autonomy of the four nations of the UK. However, as an ignorant mainlander I struggle to understand why the UK implemented three tracing apps.

    What about interoperability?

    It would probably quite beneficial if the Northern Ireland tracing app would interact with the Republic of Ireland's app (provided they have one, excuse my ignorance).

    Is the Scottish app compatible with the England+Wales app?

    Why doesn't Wales have its own app? (asking just for fun)

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: United? Kingdom

      Health matters have been devolved from central government, so they are now the responsibility of the Scottish Executives, Welsh Executives, Northern Irish Executives, and central government in London (England only). The problem we have is that the devolved executives tend to be very jealous of what powers they have, and absolutely will not co-operate to produce a national solution unless they are forced to. Makes for a very complicated situation with elements of a farce thrown in from time to time.

      1. Citizen of Nowhere

        Re: United? Kingdom

        The Scottish First Minister has been pleading with the Westminster government to consult with and agree common approaches throughout this crisis. I'm not sure I understand why given how incompetent the central blunderment in London is on just about every front. Or by cooperation did you actually mean doing what they are told by Westminster and shutting up no matter what cack is being excreted there?

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: United? Kingdom

          Population of England: 56m

          Population of Scotland: 5m

          But Sturgeon still expects the English to do what she wants.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why do they have different apps?

      Two main reasons*:

      1) The UK Government started with a half-baked, unworkable solution.

      2) The regions with devolved powers decided to do something about this for their regions.

      * There may also be a third (political) reason, with the devolved regions "doing their own thing" to show they are "independent".

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: United? Kingdom

      I struggle to understand why the UK implemented three tracing apps.

      It's a point of principle. The Scottish nationalists won't accept anything from London as being good for them, and will always be able to do it better. The NI unionists might have accepted a UK-wide app, but the Nationalists won't, and if Scotland is doing something different they'll both agree to do their own as well just to justify having their own assembly.

      Why doesn't Wales have its own app? (asking just for fun)

      It would have to be in Welsh, maybe they couldn't find enough programmers at short notice? Give them time.

      1. TDog

        Re: United? Kingdom

        Have you tried programming C# in welsh?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: United? Kingdom

          No, but I can't sing anyway.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: United? Kingdom

          "Have you tried programming C# in welsh?"

          I thought it was.

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: United? Kingdom

        More than a point of principle. Scotland relies on much UK enabling legislation (for example on lockdown) and if the UK gov had not screwed up so badly first time round, it might well have used it. But they fucked up and so Scotland reskinned the NI solution. However, using the common framework it should be compatible with whatever England has done (if it works)

      3. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: United? Kingdom

        So far as Northern Ireland goes, it made sense to have an app that interoperated with the already running Ireland one, and the English effort had vanished up its own fundament anyway.

        Curious difference between NHS Covid-19 and StopCovid NI; StopCovid NI reports number of installations (currently ~370k), NHS Covid-19 does not report anything about number of users.

      4. Teiwaz

        Re: United? Kingdom

        I'd have to agree with A/C above

        We all knew the World-beating non-conforming, privacy invading, data slurping NHS-X app was going to be a shitshow, but Westminster refused to admit their key tool for contact tracing was broken until last minute then declared it wasn't important anyway.

    4. Screwed

      Re: United? Kingdom

      Why doesn't Wales have its own app?

      Given that there are multiple apps, I wish we in Wales did have our own.

      One issue might be the incredibly convoluted border.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: United? Kingdom

        One issue might be the incredibly convoluted border.

        If the will is there, that's a non-issue - see above regarding the interoperability between the NI and RoI apps. The Irish border has so many twists and folds in places it'd make Escher want to go for a lie down in a dark room.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: United? Kingdom

        >Why doesn't Wales have its own app

        You need a widescreen phone to read the name?

    5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: United? Kingdom

      Republic of Ireland's app

      NearForm made a similar app for Gibraltar, which launched last month, and one for Northern Ireland, due to launch within weeks. “It’s the same core platform. It’s built on the Irish solution,” said Harte.

      “An Irish solution to an Irish problem” is a derisive term in Ireland for attempted fixes that are daft or quixotic. In this case, though, there seems no need for self-deprecation.

      Ireland has made a tool against the pandemic not only for Ireland but for part of the UK and for a British overseas territory – while Britain flounders in its own attempt to produce an app."

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/20/cheap-popular-and-it-works-irelands-contact-tracing-app-success

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: United? Kingdom

      Scotland bought in the Northern Irish one so they're supposed to be compatible.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: United? Kingdom

        At least there is some cooperation in the "British Isles"

  9. MoreBeerPlease
    Pint

    Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

    I see some venues are saying its the law that they must have the app's QR code and that us punters must scan it if we want to enter, is this true?

    I went to the official site for venues to generate their QR code and it's all very polite, use of "should" rather than "must"

    If it is mandatory seems strange that's not publicised more, maybe the buffoons national address on Tuesday night could have been a good time.

    At the very least mandatory scanning of codes would drive the uptake of the app, which is a key requirement for such apps.

    1. David Gosnell

      Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

      Any data gathered via the QR coding cannot be pinpointed to an individual (supposedly), and therefore, according to the entirely advisory nature of the app as defined in its privacy policy, cannot be used as the basis of a mandatory isolation instruction, so I'm sure the government would rather we continued supplying our full contact details where at all possible.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

        Sod the government. If I have been potentially exposed to the virus I want to know. Because i want to protect myself, my own family, my friends, my work colleagues etc.

        1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

          I am sure after being told to self-isolate for second time and then finding you did not have a virus you would change your mind.

          Apps don’t work, the false positive rate is too high.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

        "Any data gathered via the QR coding cannot be pinpointed to an individual (supposedly)"

        The way it works is that the device retains the QR code and the system periodically broadcasts a list of QR codes for tainted (in absence of a better word) premises. The app then matches this list against the codes it's gathered and warns the user so the data gathered from the QR codes never leaves the device. Allegedly. And by now I think HMG is well aware that it would never weather the consequences if it proved to be otherwise.

        In fact I think they're missing a trick here. The app registers the user's home postcode and the system broadcasts lists of postcodes which are considered to be hotspots so it can warn the user if and when their own postcode is put on the list. There's no mention of the QR codes including the premises postcodes; if they did it could alert the user tot he fact thet they're now in a hotspot even if the particular premises aren't tainted.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

      The law says they must have a way of collecting visitors' details.

      Using the NHS app is one way to comply with the law, and presumably some venues have chosen to go down that route. It would certainly be the easiest / cheapest way to implement the legal requirements.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

        They still have to collect details of anyone who doesn't have the means to scan the QR code.

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

          Went to a motorway service station the other day. Each picnic table has a QR code, and a URL for those of us who are QR-reader-less. I started filling in the web page, when I noticed the "check here to let us send you offers from $(service station operator)" bit at the bottom. I thought the info was supposed to be confidential?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

            Marketing are always the worst problem.

          2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

            Nope. Would have been useful to get people to actually provide real data, but no.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They still have to collect details of anyone who doesn't have the means to scan the QR code

          Or refuse them entry, which they're entitled to do since lack of a smart phone isn't a protected characteristic. (Unless you can't use one due to disability.)

        3. Anonymous IV

          Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

          Couple of useful quotes from "Official Sources":

          https://covid19.nhs.uk/pdf/how-to-guide.pdf

          The app currently supports Apple iOS versions 11 and higher, and Android versions 8 and higher. If you have an older smartphone whose hardware is incompatible or uses an older version of the iOS or Android operating system, you may be asked to update your operating system.

          Ho-ho - update my smartphone's Android v5.1 to v8? How?!

          https://faq.covid19.nhs.uk/article/KA-01137/en-us?parentid=CAT-01035&rootid=

          If I do not want to check in to a venue with the NHS COVID-19 app, am I still allowed to enter?

          If you do not want to check in to a venue using the NHS COVID-19 app, you should be able to provide your contact details as an alternative. You have the right to choose to provide your contact details if you prefer this to using the NHS COVID-19 app.

          Customers or visitors to hospitality venues must do at least one of the following:

          * scan the official NHS QR code poster

          * provide their name and contact details

          * be in a group for which one other member has provided name and contact details

          Hospitality venues must refuse entry to those who do none of the above. If you choose to check in with the NHS QR code you do not need to provide your contact details as well.

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

        I suppose you could install it to go in and then remove/reset it when you leave.

        Whilst making the App a requirement to enter is not a particularly welcome move, for the sorts of places that I can see forcing this, everyone has probably at least got a mobile device and is probably of an age where they will install anything.

        It will be quicker and safer than trying to have a paper or keyboard/touchscreen entered record. It also removes the idiocy of people entering fake details.

    3. Screwed

      Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

      Which would imply that anyone who is under 16, or doesn't have a mobile phone, would be banned.

      Hardly in line with the so-called PM's stated desire not to impact on our freedoms. Though that doesn't mean it isn't interpreted as a reason to exclude people.

    4. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

      My understanding is venues must have the qr code, but it's not required that visitors specifically use the qr code to check in, however venues now have to collect contact tracing details on visitors. So either you use the qr code or they have to get your contact details. I suppose it's then up to them whether they want to do both or say qr only.

      (Not sure about under 16s in either case as their data may be more protected, do they even have to contact trace?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is the QR code check part of the app in a legal requirement for venues?

        So either you use the qr code or they have to get your contact details

        Just give them a business card.

  10. David Gosnell

    Compulsion or not

    Needless to say, confusion over the level of compulsion with this thing, with the app's privacy policy making it very clear that everything it recommends is advisory, but the Department of Health saying you can theoretically be fined for not following it (even though it's a voluntary app and supposedly anonymised anyway). With the venue QR coding added in (also anonymised) as an alternative to paper records, this is going to take a lot of the wind out of the control-freak government's sails of enforcement. No wonder they weren't happy with Apple and Google's restrictions, and it wasn't just about the lack of access to Bluetooth rangefinding.

    1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo

      Re: Compulsion or not

      Austria was quite quick to develop a tracing app, which uses the decentralized approach.

      However, it was almost immediately dead in the water, after some wise whigs started discussing whether the app should be compulsory or not.

    2. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Compulsion or not

      My understanding (although the law appears to change by the hour, so would advise people to check the legislation for themselves rather than rely on a comment on the register...) was that fines for breaching isolation were based on being instructed by a public health official to isolate. The app is not a public health official.

      1. David Gosnell

        Re: Compulsion or not

        I gather Matt Hancock belatedly rescinded the Department of Health's wishful statement, presumably under pressure to actually be honest.

  11. Vulch

    Source available

    The source code for the apps and the back end was uploaded to the NHSX account on GitHub this morning. Not much in the way of activity between the original upload and this one.

  12. anthonyhegedus

    Dodo Harding anyone?

    Does all this mean that Dido Harding can finally claim she's got something organised that actually works properly, or has that ship definitely sailed?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Dodo Harding anyone?

      Dodo?

      "Now things took an even more surreal turn with Boris declaring any attack on Typhoid Dido to be both unjustified and unseemly. It was almost medieval in tone and probably the first time on record that Johnson has ever sought to defend a woman’s honour."

      Paragraph 9...

      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/23/starmer-treats-johnson-as-a-toddler-but-he-has-regressed-to-being-a-baby

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dodo Harding anyone?

        I've seen her referred to as 'Did 0' ... somewhat appropriate, I feel.

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A slight problem

    I don't have a 'smart' phone, and have no intention of getting one. My phone cost £20 about 5 years ago and I have a payg account. It costs me something like £5 per month to top up.

    I somehow doubt anyone is going offer me something that can run the app (and pay the running costs). I would imagine there are many others in the same situation, almost all of which would be in one of the 'vulnerable' groups.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A slight problem

      So? Does that mean that it would be better not to have any app because some can't use it?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: A slight problem

        What on earth are you talking about? I simply said it was a problem for me and many others with far more financial constraints.

      2. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: A slight problem

        It would be a bit of an issue if they tried to make it compulsory.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: A slight problem

      I think it'll work with WiFi internet as long as a device also has Bluetooth. So that'll be however the WiFi is paid for. Or it seems you can get issued with a QR code, people can scan that, they will be warned later if you turn out to be an inhospitable location or a toxic environment :-) (You also may need to serve food or alcoholic drinks to qualify. So mine's a wee whisky, thanks.)

  14. General Purpose Bronze badge

    Bad QR code, multiple codes per location, sabotage risk

    There's a fine analysis of the large, wildly overstuffed QR code at https://www.revk.uk/2020/09/how-not-to-qr-nhs-c19-app.html with a few more awkward observations.

    If you order a second QR poster, maybe because that's easier than finding the first one in your emails, you'll get a new code. You could wind up with your customers not being matched up as having been in the same place, merely because they've come in through different doors, scanning different posters.

    If you want to make sure your competitor's business would be shut down rather than yours, you can.

    Customers can comply with the request to scan the code without using a track-and-trace app.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Bad QR code, multiple codes per location, sabotage risk

      It sounds familiar. Start to produce a world beating xxxxx from a position of total ignorance and end up with something that falls flat on its face. In a few months they'll probably come out with something along the lines suggested in the link.

  15. JDPower Bronze badge

    So, questions. Does this require you to have Bluetooth turned on or does the OS/app turn it on in the background regardless of user setting? And will force stopping it prevent it from running in the background or is stopping it not possible (or it just restarts itself)?

    (as someone who is not getting out much at present, would far rather have it only running when I go out, not running all day, every day for no good reason)

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      The Scotlandish app on iPhone can have checking effectively disabled* by you turning off the phone, turning off the checking, or turning off Bluetooth. So it doesn't quietly turn Bluetooth on, no. That would be prompted -various apps generate a prompt to open Settings if they want me to tun something on for them.

      * This might be in the article about this one... it's if you work with the public through a perspex screen so not at risk, if your phone is not actually with you e.g. you leave it in a locker at work or at the gym, and I think there was something else... which wasn't "If you are outside Scotland and you should be running a different local contact app instead". Unless it was.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's a slider in the Android version that turns the bluetooth contact tracing on and off, with an option to remind you to turn it back on after a few hours (or an option not to be reminded if that's what you want).

      1. JDPower Bronze badge
  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just in time for the second wave and new movement restrictions

    can I have a flu jab instead of the tracking app, please? :(

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Just in time for the second wave and new movement restrictions

      Flu jabs are a maybe. Apparently everyone in Britain over fifty should be offered a free flu jab this year, but not until well into flu season I think. Over 65s first. I expect the wait for the coronavirus jab will go similarly.

      I got a free flu jab from work by voucher last year, but it's restricted probably for money saving reasons to a shrinking subset of one pharmacy chain that vaccinates... and before I managed to get that (and in fact I never did), I had caught flu. This suits no one. There is a pharmacy branch about 1 minute from the pretty large head office where I work (or used to), but it doesn't do vaccines.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Just in time for the second wave and new movement restrictions

        If not in a priority group, find a local pharmacy that does the flu jab, book an appointment and pay your £20 or whatever. It's the free ones from your GP that are being prioritised. My wife is over 60 and has hers booked for this Saturday morning at the GPs. I'm under 60 and was told I can't book a free one at the GPs surgery.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backend deal? Sounds more like backroom dealing.

    "Contracts to build the app were awarded in March 2020 and by May 2020 VMware was talking up the presence of its container technology in the software's back end."

    So was the tail wagging the dog here because VMware had a big backend infrastructure product they wanted to sell? Or did the Govt get it wrong right from the start with this centralised approach, which was never going to work. And if it was the Govt to blame, was it their decision making or were they badly advised?

    There's a story still to be told here, around the bad decisions that surely cost lives.

  18. Mike Richards Silver badge

    As the ORG point out, the government has still not provided the legally-required Data Protection Impact Assessment for Serco Test and Trace.

    https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/nhs-app-users-get-privacy-other-visitors-get-nothing/

  19. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Bluetooth sensitivity?

    This question may demonstrate my almost complete ignorance of the physics of radio-communications, so be gentle with me, please.

    I live in a block of flats. There are over 8 WiFi network signals available on my phone (only one is mine). If I leave the BlueTooth enabled and the NHS app running will it notice that I've been within 2 meters of my neighbours overnight, despite being in a different apartment? I know WiFi is a much stronger signal than BlueTooth, but just wondered.

    BTW on the BBC News at 6, it claimed that the NHS app does not send personal data anywhere, and that the instruction to self-isolate if one of your 'contacts' tests positive is advisory, not mandatory. The reporter also saids that with some test results taking over a week to be provided, anyone you might have infected would be likely to have symptoms by the time they were alerted via the app.

    BTW2: Interesting set of comments so far.

  20. very angry man

    jeez!

    that's it, I have to loose some weight , been exercising and stretching and

    STILL CANT KISS MY ASS GOODBUY

  21. agurney

    For what it's worth

    Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own tracing apps, too, for what it's worth.

    Living in Scotland it's worth a helluva lot more to me than England's.

  22. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    Why would anyone want to install the app?

    So that it periodically tells you to self-isolate for 14 days, most of the time for no valid reason?

    1. _LC_ Silver badge
      Devil

      https://rb.gy/hakl0n

      Your faith is week. You need to believe! Doubt reveals the heretic.

  23. Torchy

    Apple ID details.

    Saw the government advice asking us all to download and use the new Covid 19 app.

    My personal mobile phone is so old that the Google store refuses to allow me access so I am unable to install the software on it.

    My work mobile is an Apple so I tried to access the Apple store for the first time and since I have no Apple ID it started asking questions of me......….

    Email address, choose a password then on to first name, surname & date of birth (cheeky, did not give my real dob) then asking for my credit or debit card details !

    I exited at that point.

    Thank you UK government but my details are private and will remain so.

  24. Sufficiently curious

    I live in Scotland and have wondered about this whole app thing since it was released.

    My understanding was if somebody has the app and tests positive, they're sent a unique code which they input to the app. The app would then authenticate the code and upload all the random generated IDs for the last fortnight.

    Everybody else's phone would download a daily list of the random IDs that had been uploaded by people testing positive.

    Phones would check that list locally and if they found a match would signal the user.

    All good n well.

    But now I see this Scotland app, if you test positive, wants you to upload all the IDs that your phone has been in contact with - effectively you reporting on the people you've been in contact with rather than them checking themselves.

    I could be waaay wrong, but that seems like bait n switch to me.

  25. Scott 53

    NHS app

    Is this an NHS app, or an "NHS" app, as in "NHS" (i.e. Serco) Test and Trace?

  26. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    App downloaded and used

    Well, I needed to update the iPhone's OS to use the NHS Covid-19 app, which took a while, and then the app, as it enables easy use of the QR code for logging entry to a location. So far so good, in tat it worked in my local branch of John Lewis this afternoon for coffee and cake with a friend.

  27. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Umm sorry but 'world beating' again

    Has anyone else seen on the BBC news that the NHS Covid-19 App cannot receive negative notifications from the 'NHS' test system?

    Please tell me I was merely hallucinating.

    Oh, hang on, I wasn't:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-54307526

    "People in England who test negative for Covid-19 are unable to share the result with the new NHS app for England and Wales if they did not book the test through it in the first place."

    A phrase commonly abbreviated to WTF? springs to mind.

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 © 1998–2021