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[Simple] The Tyranny of Spreadsheets

In discussing the notorious Excel incident last year when the UK lost track of 16,000 Covid cases due to a .xls row limit, Tim Harford presents a history of the spreadsheet, dating all the way back to Francesco di Marco Datini and double-entry bookkeeping in 1396. A delightful piece of writing.

[Simple] Why vaccine-shy French are suddenly rushing to get jabbed

The government’s decision to allow only the fully vaccinated to enter restaurants, bars, trains and other spaces has caused a spike in inoculations.

[Simple] COVID 'vaccine passports' won't be needed for essential services in Canada

Quebec will require its citizens to carry a “vaccine passport” as of Sept. 1 that would serve to exclude those who have not received two doses. Health Minister Christian Dubé stressed the passports would only be mandated in regions that experience outbreaks and would not be needed to access essential services.

[Simple] How Underground Fiber Optics Spy on Humans Moving Above

Vibrations from cars and pedestrians create unique signals in cables. Now scientists have used the trick to show how Covid-19 brought life to a halt.

[Advanced] Health Passes and the Design of an Ecosystem of Ecosystems

Ever since the Covid pandemic started in 2020, various groups have seen verifiable credentials as a means for providing a secure, privacy-respecting system for health and travel data sharing. This post explores the ecosystem of ecosystems that is emerging as hundreds of organizations around the world rise to the challenge of implementing a globally interoperable system that also respects individual choice and privacy.

[Advanced] Professional Social Media Usage and Work Engagement Among Professionals in Finland Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed work life profoundly and concerns regarding the mental well-being of employees’ have arisen. Organizations have made rapid digital advancements and have started to use new collaborative tools such as social media platforms overnight. Our study aimed to investigate how professional social media communication has affected work engagement before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of perceived social support, task resources, and psychological distress as predictors and moderators of work engagement.

[Intermediate] Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants

All viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, change over time. Most changes have little to no impact on the virus’ properties. However, some changes may affect the virus’s properties, such as how easily it spreads, the associated disease severity, or the performance of vaccines, therapeutic medicines, diagnostic tools, or other public health and social measures.

[Simple] AI start-up potted Coronavirus before anyone else had a clue

On December 30, 2019, BlueDot, a Toronto-based startup that uses a platform built around artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data to track and predict the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases, alerted its private sector and government clients about a cluster of “unusual pneumonia” cases happening around a market in Wuhan, China.

[Simple] The UK Has a Plan for a New ‘Pandemic Radar’ System

Disease surveillance schemes to catch the next rising virus already exist—they’re just not communicating with each other.

[Simple] EU Digital COVID Certificate: EU Gateway goes live with seven countries one month ahead of deadline

Today, the EU Digital COVID Certificate has reached another important milestone with the go-live of the technical system at EU level, which allows to verify certificates in a secure and privacy-friendly way. The EU certificate was proposed by the Commission to resume safe travelling this summer. It will be free of charge, secure and accessible to all. Available in digital format or on paper, it will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, tested negative, or recovered from an infection.

[Intermediate] Four ways to accelerate the creation of data ecosystems

Public and private organizations rapidly set up data ecosystems to help fight COVID-19. McKinsey describes how companies can fast-track their ecosystem development.

[Advanced] Privacy and COVID-19 Vaccine Passports

Vaccine passports are being considered by some governments and businesses as a means of allowing a return to something more closely resembling normal life. Canada’s Privacy Commissioners have decided to make a statement at this time in an effort to ensure that privacy is considered at the earliest opportunity as part of any discussions about vaccine passport development.

[Simple] England to launch digital vaccine passport

The NHS app launched on Monday May 17th will be used to demonstrate COVID-19 vaccination status. However, guidance on the UK government website says: “There are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination. So for the time being, most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test.”

[Intermediate] COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic

Since September 2020, the Independent Panel has systematically, rigorously and comprehensively examined why COVID-19 became a global health and socio-economic crisis. Now it presented its findings and recommendations for action to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure that any future infectious disease outbreak does not become another catastrophic pandemic.

[Simple] Lawsuit Filed Over Contact Tracing Data Breach

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Pennsylvania and a vendor contracted by the state's Department of Health (DOH) over a data breach that exposed the personal health information (PHI) of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

[Intermediate] 10 Design Considerations for Vaccine Credentials

This blog post describes ten separable concerns for COVID-19 vaccine credentials, and responsive design strategies.

[Advanced] Webinar: Reopen society using physical COVID-19 contact tracing tokens (Video: 1:14h)

Recording from a webinar on April 28 with contact tracing experts, customers, policy makers and entrepreneurs that discussed how physical COVID-19 contact tracing tokens can be used in targeted use cases to quickly react to local outbreaks.

[Advanced] SARS-CoV-2 Infection Rates of Antibody-Positive

Full title: SARS-CoV-2 infection rates of antibody-positive compared with antibody-negative health-care workers in England: a large, multicentre, prospective cohort study. in short: If you had COVID, less chances to get infected again in most individuals - but does not tell anything about vaccinated people.

[Simple] White House leaves vaccine "passports" to private sector

Andy Slavitt (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) said during a White House COVID-19 briefing: "[...] the government here is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens. We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do. What's important to us, and we're leading an interagency process right now to go through these details, are that some important criteria be met with these credentials."

More corona news discussed on Slack:

[Intermediate] What COVID-19 testing will look like in a post-vaccine world (Video: 42min)

Too many groups put digital business ahead of public health: Axios hosted a virtual event on what COVID-19 testing will look like in a post-vaccine world, featuring conversations with Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Dr. Michael Mina, Johns Hopkins senior scholar Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota Dr. Michael Osterholm.

[Simple] Covid: The countries that nailed it, and what we can learn from them

Covid-19 has shaken the world, with more than 2.5 million deaths and 115 million cases confirmed. This article collects the best examples of strategies for combating the virus.

[Simple] EU outlines proposed COVID 'vaccine passport'

As the vaccination roll-out accelerates around the world, many countries are starting to think about how they can enable vaccinated citizens to travel and visit public places such as restaurants and sports stadiums. The EU has unveiled its proposed digital vaccine passport in time for the summer tourism season.
Other Vaccine Passport articles this week were:

[Simple] How the West Lost COVID

How did so many rich countries get it so wrong? How did others get it so right?

[Intermediate] COVID-19 Vaccines vs Variants—Determining How Much Immunity Is Enough

As COVID-19 cases resulting from infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants accumulate in the US and around the world, one question looms large: How well do the COVID-19 vaccines developed so far protect against these novel coronavirus spinoffs?

[Simple] Backed by Google, epidemiologists launch a sweeping Covid-19 data platform

Global.health enables open access to more than 5 million anonymized Covid-19 records from 160 countries. Each record can contain dozens of data points about the case, including demographics, travel history, testing dates, and outcomes.

[Simple] Backed by Google, epidemiologists launch a sweeping Covid-19 data platform

Global.health enables open access to more than 5 million anonymized Covid-19 records from 160 countries. Each record can contain dozens of data points about the case, including demographics, travel history, testing dates, and outcomes.

[Simple] Yuval Noah Harari: Lessons from a year of Covid

In a year of scientific breakthroughs — and political failures — what can we learn for the future?

[Simple] Yuval Noah Harari: Lessons from a year of Covid

In a year of scientific breakthroughs — and political failures — what can we learn for the future?

[Simple] EU to propose 'green pass' vaccine certificate this month

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said the EU executive would propose a digital vaccination passport later this month. Members states will then decide whether to press ahead with the scheme to allow each other to recognize citizens' proof of vaccination.

[Simple] The Great Unbundling

From Ben Evans: "Covid brought shock and a lot of broken habits to tech, but mostly, it accelerates everything that was already changing. For that and lots of other reasons, tech is becoming a regulated industry, but if we step over the slogans, what does that actually mean? Tech is entering its second 50 years."

[Simple] European leaders to debate EU-wide vaccine passports

As governments roll-out mass COVID-19 vaccination programmes, debate has grown on the issue of vaccine passports and status apps.

[Simple] Can Verifiable Credentials Be The Key To Safely Reopening The Economy?

I sat down with Kaliya Young and Lucy Yang, directors of CCI, an open community, which brings together more than 300 technologists, academics and healthcare professionals from more than 100 organizations. CCI recently joined Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) to make a difference in a space that demands technological innovation and efficacy.

[Intermediate] The coronavirus is here to stay — here’s what that means

A Nature survey shows many scientists expect the virus that causes COVID-19 to become endemic, but it could pose less danger over time.

[Intermediate] Covid-19: Variants vs Vaccines

The B117 variant will probably take over between February and March in most developed countries. That’s without taking into account the Brazilian and South African variants. In the race between the variants and the vaccines, the variants are the hare and the vaccines are the tortoise.

[Intermediate] The Case for No-Covid

As many countries continue to struggle with a third wave of COVID-19 all governments and public health authorities will need to remain open to new ideas for controlling the pandemic.

[Intermediate] What Medical Data Is Israel Sharing With Pfizer - and Is It Protected?

Israel is considered a world leader in medical data, which is partly why it has received priority access to the COVID-19 vaccines. Experts agree that the Pfizer deal offers reasonable protection of citizens’ personal data - but some parts of the deal prompt questions that need answering.

[Simple] Singapore reveals Covid privacy data available to police

Singapore has admitted data from its Covid contact tracing programme can also be accessed by police, reversing earlier privacy assurances. Such an approach will erode public trust in future health responses and therefore impede their efficacy.

(Intermediate) Data Collaboration in the Age of COVID

On Thursday, December 10, 2020, the GovLab hosted a panel discussion on “Data Collaboration in the Age of COVID-19” at the MyData Conference 2020. Facilitated by Stefaan Verhulst (Co-Founder and Chief R&D at The GovLab), panelists Kelly Jin (City of New York), Claudia Juench (Cloudera Foundation), Dave Greene (Microsoft), and JoAnn Stonier (Mastercard) discussed ways the COVID-19 response could inform efforts to foster cross-sector data reuse in a responsible, systematic, and sustainable way.

(Simple) Epidemiologist looks to the past to predict second post-pandemic 'roaring 20s'

Dr Nicholas Christakis writes that after this pandemic people will seek extensive social interactions and predicts a second “roaring 20s”. Will privacy concerns and willingness to share data also change after the current pandemic is over?

[Intermediate] IBM and Salesforce Join Forces to Help Organizations and Individuals Verify Vaccine and Health Status

IBM Digital Health Pass and Salesforce Work.com to help businesses, schools and governments as they strive to reopen safely in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet another health pass with organisation centric analytics.

[Simple] Vaccination Campaign at Nursing Homes Faces Obstacles and Confusion

Walgreens and CVS staff will soon begin vaccinations at tens of thousands of long-term care facilities. Some staff and residents are wary, and there are thorny issues of consent.

[Intermediate] WHO Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Infrastructure

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced yesterday an international partnership to build a trusted COVID-19 Vaccination Certification Infrastructure, accelerating recovery from the global pandemic.

[Intermediate] Covid-19 spurs national plans to give citizens digital identities

MOSIP, an open-source platform developed in India, will be central to many of those efforts

The UK has approved a COVID vaccine — here’s what scientists now want to know

The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine has passed safety and efficacy tests — but scientists still have many questions about how this and other vaccines will perform as they’re rolled out to millions of people.

IATA Travel Pass Key to Reopening Borders Safely

IATA announced that it is in the final development phase of the IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders.

ODI Report: Data about children’s lives in the pandemic

‘Data about children’s lives in the pandemic’ looks at the impact of the pandemic on children’s lives, and the wellbeing of parents and teachers, through the lens of new data made available to the ODI, as well as various open data sources and in-depth qualitative research.

Coronavirus: The Swiss Cheese Strategy

How Any Country Can Learn to Dance and Stop the Coronavirus.

EU drugs regulators prepare for COVID vaccines’ potential risks

The European Medicines Agency and national regulators will monitor data from a wide range of sources.

Health Data Sharing to Support Better Outcomes

This Special Publication outlines a number of potentially valuable policy changes and actions that will help drive toward effective, efficient, and ethical data sharing, including more compelling and widespread communication efforts to improve awareness, understanding, and participation in data sharing.

Welcome Back to the Office. Please Wear This Tracking Device.

A boom in contact tracing devices could herald a new era of worker surveillance.

EU switches on cross-border interoperability for first batch of COVID-19 contacts tracing apps

National apps whose backends are now linked through the gateway service are Germany’s Corona-Warn-App, the Republic of Ireland’s COVID tracker, and Italy’s Immuni app.

Build trust in digital health

The rapid rollout of digital health approaches in the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has neglected to prioritize data privacy and is a missed opportunity for building users’ trust in these technologies for future outbreaks and quotidian healthcare.

And here another paper: "Patient trust must come at the top of researchers’ priority list"

Algorithm spots 'Covid cough' inaudible to humans

An algorithm built in the US correctly identified people with Covid-19 by the sound of their coughs.

Coronavirus: EU interoperability gateway goes live

To exploit the full potential of contact tracing and warning apps to break the chain of coronavirus infections across borders and save lives, the Commission, at the invitation by EU Member States, has set up an EU-wide system to ensure interoperability – a so-called ‘gateway'. After a successful pilot phase, the system goes live today with the first wave of national apps now linked through this service: Germany's Corona-Warn-App, Ireland's COVID tracker, and Italy's immuni. Together, these apps have been downloaded by around 30 million people, which corresponds to two-thirds of all app downloads in the EU.

Contact-tracing data harvested from pubs and restaurants being sold on

Companies collecting data for pubs and restaurants to help them fulfil their contact-tracing duties are harvesting confidential customer information to sell.

This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic

How to do backward contact tracing is now the question… The key is in the venue-based tracking, which offers quicker and easier returns

Measurement-based evaluation of Google/Apple Exposure Notification API for proximity detection in a light-rail tram

This paper describes results of a Covid-19 contact tracing app measurement study carried out on a standard design of European commuter tram. The measurements indicate that in the tram there is little correlation between Bluetooth received signal strength and distance between handsets. The paper applies the detection rules used by the Italian, Swiss and German apps to measurement data and also characterised the impact on performance of changes in the parameters used in these detection rules.

Covid-19 Data Is Coming to Google Maps

Google will deploy a function that can display color-coded overlays of the concentraiton of COVID-19 positive cases. Such data are mainly open data from Johns Hopkins, the New York times, and Wikipedia.

Proximity Tracing in an Ecosystem of Surveillance Capitalism

Proximity tracing apps have been proposed as an aide in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Some of those apps leverage attenuation of Bluetooth beacons from mobile devices to build a record of proximate encounters between a pair of device owners. The underlying protocols are known to suffer from false positive and re-identification attacks. We present evidence that the attacker's difficulty in mounting such attacks has been overestimated.

Finland's New Covid-19 App Warns PM of Exposure

Finland's prime minister will work remotely until further notice, officials announced on Thursday, after the country's new coronavirus app warned that she may have been exposed. Finland launched its app on September 1 and it has since been downloaded approximately 1.8 million times, equal to one-third of Finland's 5.5 million population.

Preventing future waves of COVID-19

McKinsey's perspectives on the coronavirus outbreak, the twin threats to lives and livelihoods, and how organizations can prepare for the next normal.

covid19 policy trackers

A global collection of COVID19 policy trackers and data. It covers a diversity of areas like non-pharamaceutical interventions, economic and social policy responses, public attitudes, politics and media coverage.

Digital Inequality During a Pandemic

A quantitative study of differences in COVID-19–related internet uses and outcomes among the general population.

Cellphone Data Shows How Las Vegas Is “Gambling With Lives” Across the US

Las Vegas casinos, open for months now, are a likely hotbed for the spread of COVID-19. For many reasons, contact tracing has proved next to impossible as tourists return to homes across the U.S.

COVID-19 ‘health passport’ for travel and events

Spikes in coronavirus across the world are once again impacting the tourism industry. But one start-up has a possible solution – an app which acts as a health passport to prove travellers are virus-free.

Incredibly bold move from Apple

COVID risk score introduced by Apple (iOS 13.6) might be illegal in Switzerland because national apps' safteguards are circumvented.

Covid-19 and the market model of higher education

One way to compare the higher education policies of countries under pandemic conditions is to consider what would happen in higher education if values aligned to the ‘common good’.

Shifting paradigm from SEAM to HAACS

Richard Whitt describes the need to shift from a paradigm of SEAM (surveil, extract, analyse, manipulate) to one of the HAACS (Human autonomy/agency via computer system)

The great coronavirus-tracing apps mystery

Germany and Switzerland are not sure how well their apps are working as the data is out of bounds.

The looming disaster of immunity passports and digital identity

Immunity Passports have become a much hyped tool to cope with this pandemic and the economic crisis. Essentially, with immunity passports those who are 'immune' to the virus would have some kind of certified document - whether physical or digital.

We Need to Change How We Share Our Personal Data Online in the Age of COVID-19

COVID-19 underscores how urgently we need a new approach to organizing and sharing personal data writes Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The coronavirus shutdown through the eyes of the recently unemployed

With extraordinary speed, the coronavirus has torn through nearly every corner of the economy. Workers across nine industries reflect in this article on paying the bills, filling their days, and facing an economy dramatically changed.

Covid-19 is here to stay. People will have to adapt

You may have lost interest in the pandemic. It has not lost interest in you.

Coronavirus: Member States agree on an interoperability solution for mobile tracing and warning apps

Member States, with the support of the Commission, have agreed on a set of technical specifications to ensure a safe exchange of information between national contact tracing apps based on a decentralised architecture. This concerns the vast majority of tracing apps that were already – or are about to be – launched in the EU. Once the technical solution is deployed, such national apps will work seamlessly when users travel to another EU country which also follows the decentralised approach. This means an important additional step towards interoperability of mobile apps for tracing coronavirus infections, as Member States begin to lift travel restrictions across borders in time for summer vacation.

There won’t be one large second wave of Covid19, but a number of flare-ups

The Fleming that advises the European Commission on research into the novel coronavirus Professor Peter Piot has told VRT News of how a possible second wave of novel coronavirus infections should be tackled.

UK virus-tracing app switches to Google-Apple model

The Apple-Google design has been promoted as being more privacy-centric.

SwissCovid: a critical analysis of risk assessment by Swiss authorities

Paul-Olivier wrote a paper outlining the privacy and security risks associated to the Google/Apple Exposure Notification API. This is very Swiss centric but applicable to many different countries of course.

Why Now Is the Time for “Open Innovation”

Covid-19 has shown how companies can work together to solve problems.

Minnesota is now using contact tracing to track protestors

Minnesota officials say they’re using contact tracing to better understand who the protestors are and where they’re coming from.

A Post-COVID-19 Digital Bretton Woods

When world leaders came together in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944, they laid the foundation for a model of global governance that would last for more than 70 years. To manage the far-reaching implications of digital technology and hyper-globalization, we must now pick up where they left off.

Five ways a COVID-19 contact-tracing app could make things worse

There is a good chance that people will over-trust an app to keep them safe, which could inadvertently increase social contact. This is a well-documented psychological effect called “automation bias”.

Pan-European Hackathon

Now is your chance to help tackle coronavirus! #EUvsVirus

Recommendation on apps for contact tracing

European Commission and the High Representative have set out plans for a robust and targeted EU response to support partner countries' efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Recover from the Impact of the Covid-19 Crisis

This is a brilliant resource for business owners to help with COVID planning and impact minimisation.

You Really Don’t Want to Sell Your Data

Without fundamental legal rights underpinning the relationship between those who control data and those subject to it, data ownership will erode the control of those who need it most.

Funding Opportunities

This is a list of upcoming funding opportunities:

  • a curated list of open calls, funding opportunities, useful tools, collaborative actions and many more initiatives to help fight the Coronavirus situation by Martel Innovate
  • Mozilla announced the creation of a COVID-19 Solutions Fund as part of the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS)
  • NGI: DAPSI (deadline: April 22nd, webinar) and TRUST (3rd call, deadline: May 4th)
“SARS-CoV-2 Tracking under GDPR” by noyb

In the wake of the Corona crisis, many governments and non-governmental institutions consider the usage of infection tracking systems to fight the pandemic. They float different ideas how these systems shall look like. While reviewing some of those ideas, noyb (European Center for Digital Rights) has prepared this ad hoc paper on legal requirements for virus trackingsystems.

Projects using personal data to combat SARS-CoV-2

The GDPRhub maintains a page to collect different approaches by government and private projects to use personal data to combat SARS-CoV-2.

MyData vs COVID-19

A blog post on MyData vs COVID-19 describing who we are, what we do and why people should join the efforts now!

The moment you realise the world has changed: re-thinking the EDPS Strategy

Covid-19 is a game changer. Thinking about the EDPS’ strategy for the next five years, we have to look again at our text.

Save our NHS

What is your personal connection with your healthcare service & the professionals that work within it?

Data Stewards Network: A Call for Action

Toward building the data infrastructure and ecosystem we need to tackle pandemics and other dynamic societal and environmental threats.

EU Funding for Innovative solutions to tackle Coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission is calling for startups and SMEs to apply urgently to the next round of funding from the European Innovation Council

Controlling coronavirus with apps

Smartphone tracking of the pandemic - a help or a threat to privacy?

MyData and Coronavirus

Some thoughts here about how bottom up, human-centric 'MyData' would vastly improve how global pandemics can be managed for all parties. Clearly we won't get to build much for this time around, albeit my prototype only took 20 minutes; but one has to assume there will be a Covid 20 and beyond.


outils
Civitas

Civitas is a personalized risk and relief app built for the pandemic and other emergencies. It connects you to physical, medical, mental, and financial resources relevant to you.

LifeBox

MyLog14 is a mobile app for people to efficiently log and manage personal data without sacrificing the security of personal records.