(privacy to go) Do enough people know how contact tracing works?
One of my favorite weekly news wrap-up shows recently covered an interesting story.
It was from the Telegraph and entitled, “Millions ‘unwittingly tracked’ by phone after vaccination to see if movements changed.“
The article’s contents are interesting – if not unsurprising – to those against the rising Surveillance Oligarchy. But the reversal from “contact tracing” the supposed ill to instead surveilling the vaccinated is worth noting, as is the method of tracing described in the article.
Is humanity aware of the multivariate methods of contact tracing beyond the toggle switch in iOS and Android?
And just how do the methods being used by the Anglo-American Establishment at Oxford University in the above Telegraph story differ from those being dreamt up by Silicon Valley?
The short answer is that multiple entities (namely your cell carrier, Google, Apple, and their State and corporate affiliates) are all vying for their position in the emergent Panopticon. The long answer has to do with resolution and accuracy of metadata, but we’ll get to that momentarily.
Most people know that contact tracing is a form of person-to-person surveillance using cell phones. Some know that Bluetooth is involved. Others are aware that cell carrier data can be used for contact tracing directly.
The deeper story lies in how each of these methods is accomplished, and by whom.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the technicals of contact tracing – examining the (limited) source code and source documents where possible and unveiling other engineering methods utilized where we can.
Apple <3 Google: A Match Made in Hell
The first time Apple and Google crossed paths, Google CEO and Apple board member Eric Schmidt silently stole the concept for Android from Apple’s iOS.
The two operating systems now account for nearly 60% of all web traffic.
So it is no surprise that these surveillance titans, after cornering most of modern web traffic, turned to weaponize it under the auspices of a public health crisis in May of 2020.
Despite a propaganda push to ensure the public that contact tracing surveillance data is “private,” it is anything but – while a lone hacker may have trouble fetching and decrypting packets sent by this contact tracing API, the companies behind contact tracing and their affiliates have already pwned you.
Apple and Google can ruminate all they want that their contact tracing data being sufficiently encrypted and private:
…yet their own API documentation reveals that all contact tracing is done on the Big Tech surveillance grid:
This code from Google’s contact tracing API (or Application Programming Interface), is closed-source and unauditable. But for the layman, the concept of the API is simple – it’s a bit of code that performs calculations from a third-party server and returns data to whoever asked for it.
In the case of Apple and Google’s contact tracing API, they’re the ones crunching the numbers. And they can share those results with whoever they want – governments, health insurance providers, police, intelligence agencies, you name it.
This doesn’t sound very private to me.
Even if identifiers to these API calls are 100% anonymized and encrypted, Apple and Google can still associate your identity based on your Gmail or iCloud device login. In other words, the opposite of private.
While both Apple and Google have alleged methods to disable contact tracing in their settings, there is no way of verifying that this functionality is actually turned off. Apple’s code is entirely closed-source, and while the Android Open Source Project is fairly open, Google’s contact tracing and gApps code is anything but.