War of the Worlds – SuperSpreaders Meets Contact Tracers

By Thomas B. Cross Executive Director Pandemic Tech Alliance

Superspreaders or super spreading is means of mass transmission of viruses to large groups of people from individuals or groups such as church choirs, night clubs and places indoors. Our research focuses on indoors as outdoor transmission by many researchers is either incomplete or specialized. We believe outdoor transmission is very limited while indoor transmission is very serious and highly probable. CBS did a story which also reported some of the information from the NAS but this gets really complicated rather quickly. In the story from CBS one person infected 15 people at different events such as a dinner, funeral, birthday and other events leading to 3 deaths.

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Images Courtesy CBS News

 Now for the solution that no one wants but everyone needs – contact tracing. Let’s explore the issues which like the vaccine for the coronavirus is “under construction” and like to be so for many months to come. Even with a vaccine many people we have spoken to who don’t take flu shots or pneumonia shots or other vaccines don’t believe a coronavirus will work. Meanwhile, in reality there are only four types of interpersonal communications, 1-1, 1-X or one to many, X-1 many to one or few and X-X – many to many. These permutations are astronomical over time and number of people you come in contact with.  MIT did an extraordinary compilation of contact tracing apps including a real-time database (of 30 apps) to keep up with the rising number of contact tracing apps so far. Here’s the rub. No one believes we have privacy anymore and this approach coming mainly from governments is not going to minimalize that the government is “here to help” is not really true.

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Here’s some verbiage from the Ministry of Health from Israel, “information about locations and times is cross-referenced withinyour device, and not on the cloud. Your locations are not sent to the Ministry of Health, unless you have authorized the Ministry of Health to receive this information for purposes of help in identifying people who have been exposed and who must enter home isolation as soon as possible.” In fairness to other apps, there is similar wording in all the contact tracing apps more like the unreadable TOY-terms of use in all your other apps. Now I don’t believe they don’t gather your locations nor will ever use AI or machine learning to analyze patterns of infection or any other undesirable activity on your part. In addition, there are other ways hackers can track you such as MIT points out “DP-3T: This stands for decentralized privacy-preserving proximity tracing. It’s an open-source protocol for Bluetooth-based tracking in which an individual phone’s contact logs are only stored locally, so no central authority can know who has been exposed.” Whether a central authority or hacker you are not being protected by any one government or person.

Bottom-line – Superspreaders like cybersecurity hackers are more widespread than any government’s ability to limit their impact. Our recommendation is to build your own app for your own group or “company you keep” to build protection for those closest to you to protect them and their “gang.” Employers should have their own apps as well. This means that you may have a number of these contact tracing apps as we also have a number of social media apps. This gives you added protection while limiting your privacy exposure. This is serious so take personal responsibility for protecting your loved ones and others.  

War of the Worlds – SuperSpreaders Meets Contact Tracers
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