Category Archives: Software

What if you could be convicted with secret evidence you cannot see nor contest?

All defendants have a right to review the evidence before them. When software applications produce a conclusion, then the software source code must be re-viewable by the defense.

The government argues it can use secret software against a defendant – software that may very well be defective (think Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College London’s secret disease modeling code that ignores all modern software engineering practices).

Can secret software be used to generate key evidence against a criminal defendant?

Source: EFF and ACLU Tell Federal Court that Forensic Software Source Code Must Be Disclosed | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Rant: Apple’s “Forget your password” pain in the ass

If you forget a password with Apple products, you have a choice:

Receive a code sent to “your other Apple devices” (this means you must own more than one Apple device and you must have physical access to it)

Receive a code sent to someone else’s Apple device (which doesn’t work for me either)

Go through a separate process that it says may take days to receive a reset code.

This is effectively a useless user experience. Just went through this with my wife’s purchase (and subsequent return to the vendor) of an Apple iPad.

Now I am having to deal with on an old Apple product – while I do not currently have access to my only other Apple product that is compatible with their latest security system.

This is a typical Apple pain in the ass. And while I decided some time ago to not update any of my Apple hardware. Some people say “Apple just works”. That is has not been my experience. At all.

Twitter still a mess in the aftermath of the take over of their systems

Read the whole thing  –  Twitter blog post update.

It’s pretty clear they still do not have a full handle on the situation.

Twitter acknowledges that the hackers downloaded the Twitter Data for some accounts,  which may include private Direct Messages.

I no longer regard Twitter as safe. I deactivated 2 of my 4 accounts, and had already deleted all content of my main account – except DMs. I’m in process of clearing out all the DM’s now. I intend to keep one or two of the accounts alive but will probably no longer use them.

This incident was a total and complete failure of Twitter security and their ability to be trusted with holding information. At this time, no one should have any trust in Twitter – and I mean no one. Clear your data as soon as possible. What just happened could have created one or more international incidents as hackers seized control of prominent political accounts.

Smart phone Covid-19 contact tracing apps accomplishing little

In May, a report said Iceland had achieved the largest penetration of any virus-tracking app, with 38% of its 364,000 inhabitants installing it. But the Iceland app, which collected people’s GPS data, “wasn’t a game changer,” according to Gestur Pálmason, the deputy chief inspector of Iceland’s Covid-19 tracing team. Oxford University researchers have said 60% of a country’s population would have to download a tracing app in order for it to be effective.

“There isn’t a single country in the world to date that would be able to point to an app and say: ‘That was a game changer,’” Stephanie Hare, an independent technology researcher, told CNBC.

Singapore, which was seen as a pioneer in the development of tracing technology, has seen about 2.1 million downloads of its app. This translates to about 37% of the country’s population — still well below the recommended 60% threshold. And although digital tracking measures seem to have helped in countries like China and South Korea, critics say that these technologies came at the expense of privacy.

Source: Why coronavirus contact-tracing apps haven’t been a ‘game changer’

Did you know that the Iceland app could only detect  about 14% of potential contacts?  That’s why phone -side app tracing doesn’t work.

Continue reading Smart phone Covid-19 contact tracing apps accomplishing little

UK’s NHS tried to stop development of third-party contact tracing smartphone apps

The UK has since abandoned its NHSX developed app and is now moving on to a new app based on Google/Apple tech, but is not expected to release the new app until … end of 2020:

Developers of several apps were urged to stop work by either NHSX or the Ministry of Defence, who told them their apps might distract attention from NHSX’s app when it was launched. Last week the app was abandoned after three months, with work beginning on an alternative design without any deadline.

Prof Tim Spector, of King’s College London, said that NHSX had treated his Covid symptom tracker research team as “the enemy”. “We were hampered from the beginning, in March when we first contacted NHSX,” he told the Observer. “They were very worried about our app taking attention away from theirs and confusing the public.

Source: NHS Covid app developers ‘tried to block rival symptom trackers’ | Technology | The Guardian

Japan pulls its coronavirus tracking smartphone app due to software design errors

The Japanese government has pledged to fix within a week bugs that have caused its coronavirus contact-tracing smartphone app to be shut down, the health minister said Tuesday.

The free app, which was launched Friday and downloaded around 3.71 million times as of Tuesday morning, erroneously accepts ID numbers not issued by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, Katsunobu Kato, the minister responsible for the system, said at a press conference.

Source: Bugs force Japan gov’t to temporarily shut down virus contact-tracing app