Apps

Trump moves on China apps may create new internet ‘firewall’

A ban by President Donald Trump’s administration on Chinese mobile apps such as TikTok and WeChat risks fragmenting an already fragile global internet and creating an American version of China’s “Great Firewall.”

Fears about the global internet ecosystem intensified this week with Trump’s executive orders banning the popular video app TikTok and Chinese social network WeChat, following a US government directive to prohibit the use of other “untrusted” applications and services from China.

The restrictions announced on the basis of what Trump called national security threats move further away from the long-promoted American ideal of a global, open internet and could invite other countries to follow suit, analysts said.

“It’s really an attempt to fragment the internet and the global information society along US and Chinese lines, and shut China out of the information economy,” said Milton Mueller, a Georgia Tech University professor and founder of the Internet Governance Project.

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Are they any use? With Europe’s black-box coronavirus apps it’s hard to tell

By Padraic Halpin and Douglas Busvine

DUBLIN/BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe’s experiment in using technology to fight coronavirus has achieved some early successes: millions of people have downloaded smartphone tracker apps and hundreds have uploaded the results of positive COVID-19 tests.

Yet most European countries so far lack solid evidence that their apps – which identify close contacts via Bluetooth connections with nearby users – are actually alerting people who may have caught the disease before they can infect others.

The reason? Design choices made by governments and their app developers to protect people’s privacy.

In many of the 11 European territories using architecture designed by Alphabet’s Google <GOOGL.O> and Apple <AAPL.O>, apps have been made to be ‘blind’ to warnings of potential exposure to COVID-19 flowing through the system.

In Switzerland, for example, the Federal Office of Public Health acknowledged that “the effectiveness of the SwissCovid App is difficult to

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Europe Proves Contact-Tracing Apps Aren’t A Coronavirus Cure-All

When the StopCovid contact-tracing app was unveiled in France at the beginning of June, its rollout had already been hampered by problems and setbacks. The release had been delayed by nearly a month, and its launch was met with widespread concerns that the Bluetooth technology on which the app relied was too imprecise in some situations, and completely unusable in others. The app couldn’t work in the background, it drained smartphone batteries and it wouldn’t operate with tracing apps that other European nations were developing.

By late June, StopCovid was a confirmed flop. The app had alerted just 14 people that they had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to HuffPost France. And while nearly 2 million people, or 2% of the population, downloaded the app following its initial release, nearly half a million uninstalled it after just a few weeks.

“We

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