Privacy is not the problem with the Apple-Google contact-tracing toolkit


Centralised control of computing infrastructure. I had not thought about this problem before in these terms. As the article says, Interesting article that makes iyou think about the differences between

It is possible to be strongly in favour of a decentralised approach, as I am (as a co-developer of the open-source DP-3T system that Apple and Google adapted), while being seriously concerned about the centralised control of computing infrastructure these firms have amassed.

This simple view might apply to a company collecting data through an app or a website, such as a supermarket, but doesn’t faithfully capture the source of power of the firms controlling the hardware and software platforms these apps and websites run on.

This approach is effectively what underpins the Apple-Google contact-tracing system. It’s great for individual privacy, but the kind of infrastructural power it enables should give us sleepless nights.

In all the global crises, pandemics and social upheavals that may yet come, those in control of the computers, not those with the largest datasets, have the best visibility and the best – and perhaps the scariest — ability to change the world.

A “right to repair” would stop planned obsolescence in phones, or firms buying up competitors just to cut them off from the cloud they need to run. A “right to interoperate” would force systems from different providers, including online platforms, to talk to each other in real time, allowing people to leave a social network without leaving their friends.

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