- An Ethereum developer, in cooperation with Microsoft, presents a new protocol to address the security flaws in people tracking apps for COVID19.
- The systems presented in cooperation between Google and Apple store the collected data on centralized servers and violate the privacy and data protection of many smartphone users.
The cry for the use of a worldwide app that monitors corona infected people and keeps them away from healthy people is getting louder and louder. Recently Google and Apple announced that they want to monitor all smartphone users worldwide via a new Bluetooth tracking system. The iOS operating system and Android are to receive appropriate interfaces and then automatically deliver all relevant data to health authorities and governments worldwide to combat COVID19.
The users of the smartphones will not be asked but forced to share their private data. In response, Ethereum developer John Wolpert, in collaboration with Microsoft and ConsenSys, has presented a new protocol that will guarantee the privacy and protection of the user’s data.
Baseline protocol in the fight against COVID19
The tech giant Microsoft and the Ethereum developer studio ConenSys have presented new proposals for a COVID19 contact tracking system based on the baseline protocol within an open source project:
This protocol implements best practices around data consistency and compartmentalization, and leverages public Ethereum for verifying execution of private transactions, contracts and tokens on the Mainnet using ZKP (zkSnarks). The Baseline Protocol is designed such that it can be extended and applied to any database/workflow.
Wolpert describes that Bluetooth keys will be used for the new system, which will make contact with other smartphones in the vicinity. Via the baseline protocol, all parties are then to confirm that they were at a certain location at a certain time. Privacy will be protected by hashing users’ information so that all data remains anonymous.
If a person with Bluetooth switched on comes close to the infected person, a warning is automatically sent so that direct transmission is effectively prevented. According to Wolpert, the collected information could also be passed on anonymously to health authorities and governments in order to draw conclusions and adopt measures.
Already known coronavirus tracking apps
The IOTA community has presented the TrackCovidCluster App, an option to anonymously collect data about infected people and store it on the tangle. Thereby not the movement profiles of all persons have to be collected, but only those of the infected persons. According to the developers, the system can be used across national borders.
Air Squad is a pandemic information platform, also based on IOTA, on which infected persons can anonymously share health data and be rewarded for doing so. This should enable individuals and institutions to learn and better understand the collected data and thus learn from the course of the disease and its symptoms. Most recently, the Zcash Foundation also called for the development of a corona tracking app to protect user data.