iOS Supports Contact Tracing Apps. Do You?

Updated: Jun 1, 2020


As of 5/21/2020 - iOS 13.5 will support underlying API for these apps.


So here we are. It's hard to believe that anyone who fears government tyranny would agree to this. So I will go over 2 main topics here. The first being an advocate for this - hear me out! You might be surprised at how much consideration in people privacy they took. Second being opposed, but in a friendly non-conspiracy way.


Keep in mind - an API does not mean iOS will track you. It means it supports the apps you willfully chose to download for contact tracing to use the it's software and firmware to do so.

Advocating Contact Tracing


What we know: Well security is number one priority - to battle this, a team who developed the idea for Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) came from a group of "technologists, legal experts, engineers and epidemiologists with a wide range of experience who are interested in ensuring that any proximity tracing technology does not result in governments obtaining surveillance capabilities which will endanger civil society."


It is an app you would download, and the code is open for viewing to ensure there are no flaws in the method or anything "Sketchy" going on. Find their GitHub here: https://github.com/DP-3T/documents


The preventative measures that this would give humanity is insanely good. Vaccines or no vaccines the widespread of disease would flatten the curve every time with no question. How does it work though?

It simple terms. The app would act as a sort of proximity sensor. Logging a unique ID code from those around you. To make it really simple. Let's imagine 5 people in a room, and give them the ID's A,B,C,D,E. If all of them are standing right next to each other, each of their sensors would log the other code (for A - it would log B,C,D,E) so on and so forth. Lets say (A) manages to get sick... With Covid-19 for instance. (A) goes to the hospital and takes a test. The hospital takes note of that persons proximity codes and sends a notification to the others who were in contact, and they self isolate. One thing to note, is there is no geo-tracking going on here, as well as the code you are assigned is about as informative as a phone number, except the only person allowed to call you is a hospital to warn you about a deadly infectious disease.


Let's put ourselves In the mind of a hacker for a moment. What can we do with the data here... Let's say I have cracked a security hole in a hospital and now have obtained a list of these ID's. Now what? I can maybe send a push notification out somehow to everyone who recently went to the hospital that tested positive for Covid-19? Well, that's what the hospitals are already doing so there is no point here. I wouldn't bother trying to hack a hospital to obtain ID's that contain no information. I'd rather try and get PII or Credit card numbers... Unfortunately that hacking already exists, so needless to say, your public safety as far as a contact tracing app is concerned, is the least of a hackers problem.


Opposing Contact Tracing


If you read all the above and still weren't a little tiny bit skeptical, well you aren't alone. I think it's healthy to have that little voice in the back of your head saying "well what if". Of course too much of it is unhealthy. The question here isn't really "do I trust the app" and more of "do I trust other people". This is a very hard thing to overcome - even in other aspects of life.