What Google and Apple are cooking up (and it is not dessert)-rebaked version
I decided to add substantially to this piece as there were significant developments during the week and to respond to some of the criticism.
Governments and politicians love crises, they learnt it from the dictators of the world. Crisis was always, and still is, the tool used by an oppressive regime to manipulate and control people; mix in a little bit of racism with a sprinkling of nationalism and it becomes your patriotic duty to defend the dictator you were trying to depose in the food riots a few weeks before.
In this present “crisis”, governments are taking full advantage of the fear that has been created by a complicit media to push through legislation that would never have been passed during “peace time”. This is all done under the banner of “saving lives” — apparently if you act quickly and strip everyone of their liberty we will save “millions” of lives. The trouble is, push those figures a little bit and most of those “millions” would die anyway within the next 12 months with or without COVID-19. The author of the report that locked the UK up now admits a “2/3rds overlap, perhaps more” and the first contra study has appeared in the Lancet medical journal  arguing the closing of UK schools (and by implication, most social distancing for the healthy) is unjustified. This paper, unlike the original report prepared for our government, was peer-reviewed and accepted by experts generally.
The contrived nature of this “crisis” should be obvious to anyone who wants to step back and look at reality. In the UK at the moment we have “emergency” facilities opened by our monarchs (no less — and the British Establishment roll out our monarchs when additional sedation of the population is required) that are completely empty with no patients and this is a repeated pattern at these “desperately needed” facilities. It was primarily a very public, expensive and slick psychological stunt to try and ensure the population stays well-behaved during their incarceration and people are frightened into obedience; if you dare to challenge that they are empty, it is simply because “our strategy is working” rather than evidence that the strategy was fundamentally flawed.
All this I discuss in greater detail in my previous articles as well as cross-referencing medical experts with how it should have been handled — in short, mass testing of at-risk groups, fire-walling institutions with high-risk groups, and targeted quarantining when people are infected. It is the only long-term sustainable strategy — this is going to be a repeating problem for now every nutter out there will now be working on malicious biological entities to wreck the world. The most remarkable fact is that by just getting fit and healthy, most people without pre-existing conditions can survive this type of infection with a little discomfort. It is not sustainable to paralyse the world when you have a flu problem and borrow from the magic money tree to pay everybody to stay at home; unless, of course, you have the agenda for a 1984 worldwide social change to introduce a Brave New World order. That, as is becoming increasingly obvious, is both the WHO’s  and the Chinese agenda. The “Chinese” dimension is emerging from conspiracy theorist to mainstream, as it becomes plain just how ruthless that regime is and how it is quite happy to use its enormous econmic power to further its political agenda.
This is going to be a repeating problem — every nutter out there will now be working on malicious biological entities to wreck the world.
However, what has slipped out in the mean time is another “life saving” plan. Quite remarkably, Google and Apple have just happened to “come up” with a contact-tracking plan that is the surveillance State’s wet dream. This means they have actually been working on this for a much longer period and collaborating behind the scenes on this type of surveillance tech that would never be accepted for release into the general population under normal circumstances — a few targeted terrorists or criminals under judicial sanction and oversight perhaps but everybody, not a chance! However, now, we are going to “save lives”, now we are going to install it in the name of national security and health. The idea is that your smartphone will be used to track all your “contacts” so that if you became infected, you send an alert and all your contacts could be tested or if you become infected you can work backwards and identify possible infection points. Sounds all so ethical and compassionate.
However, dig a little deeper — there are actually two versions of the specification — one talks about Bluetooth and the other about GPS and the overall architecture. What is so significant about the tech is that it will be built into the operating system — this means it can operate independently of you (just by you switching on your phone), of any privacy settings and you can never be sure that it is turned off, even if you turned Bluetooth off or even if your phone is turned off — preboot execution is now pretty common for communication devices, you have to pull the battery out to be sure (think Nicky in the Bourne Ultimatum). It is a bit like your webcam having an “in-use” light on it, but it is only conventional and a courtesy that a programmer lights that up, you can deliberately not light it up for legitimate purposes but of course that means it can not be lit up too for illegitimate purposes; same goes for built-in microphones for recording from and covert listening in. I found an interesting message in my Windows privacy settings informing me that “the settings were bypassable by any devices that decides to bypass them [by being built into the operating system] — if you want robust security, unplug the device”. Works for external devices but what about the built-in camera, microphone, GPS…
I found an interesting message in my Windows privacy settings informing me that “the settings were bypassable by any devices that decides to bypass them [by being built into the operating system] — if you want robust security, unplug the device”.
Now the “specs” and the “scientific” apology for the application  say that it will be “opt-in” and you will need to “give permission” to share your contact history. It will be subject to “democratic” discussion. However, the system will not be useful in any real emergency if it is “opt-in” or if in some way the data is so comprehenisvely anonymised so that it does not personally identify a user. That is precisely why it is being built into the operating system to ensure it need not be opt-in and it can be easily tagged by device — consider the most basic use case, the health-workers (or any other agency that wants the data), notes a pattern of the uninfected going into infected areas despite warnings, so to prevent further infection, they request de-anonymisation of the data to find the “irresponsible that are putting the rest of us at risk”. Think of a potential terrorist carrying a device. As an informed critic of the architecture has already said, it is trivial within the system as presented to personally identify someone once they are “infected” as well as hijack the system for malicious use, e.g. say someone is infected when they are not. The same critics make the case that it is relatively straightforward to use existing tech to accomplish the contact tracking without this super-invasive intrusion to our phones. To bang my drum again, this is not about “saving lives” but getting surveillance tech into phones by any means necessary and this is great cover.
Now, of course, it seems perfectly reasonable that you should want to provide information that would help in the tracking of possible risk of infection of those close to you and then alert some central medical facility. That is being a caring and compassionate citizen, concerned for the health and well-being of your fellow citizens. That is what gives this type of scheme its prima facie plausibility. Just as the mayor of New York is going to send in the police to break up funeral gatherings, “This is about saving lives. Period.” However, again and again, we are missing the contrived nature of this pandemic — for those who are fit and healthy, this represents virtually no risk — mortality in South Korea was less than 1% and even where it was higher, in Spain and Italy for example (around 10%), there were local lifestyle and demographic exacerbating factors and even now, Spain is re-opening for business. The brutal reality is that the world cannot afford to stay shut, it has to re-open for business and we will find a way to live with this risk just as we live with the flu.
The brutal reality is that the world cannot afford to stay shut, it has to re-open for business and we will find a way to live with this risk just as we live with the flu.
The government will have all sorts of pseudo-health preserving measures like mask-wearing and social-distancing that are really “face-saving” (no pun intended) — unless you have a surgical grade mask infused with anti-virals, it is a bit of placebo nonsense. Social-distancing for the healthy and fit is almost completely ineffective — this is why schools will re-open and why it was made clear by the first serious peer-reviewed study published in the Lancet that their closure was unjustified . The level of protection is so low against something that is airborne (if you are breathing through a mask, air and virus is passing through the mask), it is one of the reasons why a senior professor said that “face masks will not appreciably affect the spread of the virus in the UK” . It is rather like the myth of condoms protecting you from STDs — they do not, they reduce the risk but the molecular gap is large enough for viruses to pass through. You have enough sex with infected people, one of more of those lovelies is going to get you! Totalitarian imposition of “lockdowns” that destroy small to medium size businesses and hand greater power to multi-nationals is more socially and economically destructive for far more than those who will die from COVID-19.
Totalitarian imposition of “lockdowns” that destroy small to medium size businesses and hand greater power to multi-nationals is more socially and economically destructive for far more than those who will die from COVID-19.
Thus, under the cover of a “crisis”, governments are pushing for covert technology to be built into the ubiquitous smartphone that allows for continual surveillance of its citizens. They create fear in the population and then manipulate them in to accepting the abnormal as the “new normal” for our own protection — how compassionate they are! Governments have learnt that “health” is a great cover for all types of privacy invading and liberty restricting measures and the real aim is continual, real-time surveillance of the population to ensure “national security”. For those in the US, for once I agree with the ACLU who have highlighted the privacy implications of the system as presented! The British, in a Europe where privacy has been relatively unimportant since the French revolution (it is for the good of the republic that we are born, not for the private family), have pushed beyond what Apple and Google were doing who at least wanted to assert that “privacy” was important. Here the app is just going to send the information to a central database — at least we are being honest, we are going to collect data on you, with or without your permission.
For what you have being proposed is the first real-time, accurate to within a few metres (where ground corrected GPS is available) location data on everyone carrying a “smart” device with GPS and/or Bluetooth capability. Imagine my surprise when the CEO of Fitbit said he was making all my data (along with any Fitbit user) available to “government agencies” to help fight COVID-19. It will only be really “useful” to them if they can tie it back to me — once they have the hardware “address” (the MAC-ID), they can.
There is a surreptitious agenda that is pushing the circumvention of normal liberty, privacy and legislative oversight and using “saving lives” as the cover.
Of course, we all want national security but, and this is where we have to disagree with the Major too, not at any price. If staying “safe” means that I am only going to be allowed out of my house for a 1 hour exercise period, cannot bury my dead and have to work from home courtesy of Zoom, guess what, I will take the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and any other similar low-grade pathogen! That is my right as a citizen. We are not dealing with a deadly disease with a 90% kill-rate. In case you have not noticed, far more people have recovered than have died, including our very own Primeminister, have the media now concentrated on the recovery rate, no — that should show their news-making and selling agenda.
If staying “safe” means that I am only going to be allowed out of my house for a 1 hour exercise period, cannot bury my dead and have to work from home courtesy of Zoom, guess what, I will take the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and any other similar low-grade pathogen! That is my right as a citizen.
People should have the liberty to make that choice regarding their own safety — as well as the responsibility of avoiding those in vulnerable groups. But, think about that, it already happens — we self-isolate when we get ill!! I will also take the responsibility of ensuring I am as fit and healthy as I can be to develop a resistance to illness. As I have got fitter and healthier, I can testify that I have been ill much less frequently. If there is a cultural change that is required, that is it — taking personal responsibility for ourselves rather than thinking we can rely on a government to keep us fit, healthy and safe — we should be protecting ourselves, not the NHS (British National Health Service) and saving our own lives . The government is not our Buddha, Confucius, Lifestyle-Coach, Messiah or Christ— we give government that much control and we will end up with totalitarian rule as the norm, which is exactly what we have in this “lockdown” mentality. It was born in a totalitarian Chinese State and supported by a paternalistic WHO committed to secularism, socialism and internationalism  — the needs of the many makes the needs of the individual irrelevant.
In case you have not noticed, worldwide it is expected 95 in every 100 will have recovered rather than will have died. In South Korea , where you have the best data, it was less than 1 in 100. Why? As a population group, South Koreans eat better and are fitter.
It may come a time that the only way you can maintain some privacy (facial recognition has already stripped most of it away) is to leave your tech at home or give it to Grandma to look after whilst you do some nefarious activity like Google-location free shopping. It is particularly ironic that Apple, in trouble with all sorts of agencies for refusing to unlock their user’s phones, has now handed an enormous front door key on their users to whoever wants it; and super-cool Google who pioneered letting us come to work in our jeans are no longer just content to be just the greatest digital pirate of them all…Rather cynically I think, both, facing scrutiny from world governments over their raiding of user’s data and paying no tax (except in Ireland or Luxembourg), have decided to jump into bed with those same governments in return for “favourable” legislation, tax-treatment and access to citizen’s data.
Update 01/05/2020 — If you are British, find out just how corrupt this legislation is here:
So, as a parting word, by far the greatest threat this pandemic has posed is the threat to our basic freedom and liberty. Never have the politicians with their “experts” been so bold as to strip the basic rights from people and they have used the media and technology with shrewd perfection to execute it — a message of fear on the news media masquerading as “wisdom”, propagating a narrative of “saving lives” when people’s lives are being destroyed by isolation and financial ruin.
If staying “safe” means that I am only going to be allowed out of my house for a 1 hour exercise period, cannot bury my dead and have to work from home courtesy of Zoom, guess what, I will take the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and any other similar pathogen!
 This makes the same basic error as the work it uncritically references — not being honest with the assumptions about the mortality rate; it builds a super-elaborate case, drowning you in jargon and graphs, justifying invasion of privacy without dealing with the basic flaw in the modelling, the enormous overlap between those who would still die of something else, if not COVID-19.
 The WHO has been the most successful internationalist agency with roots back to 1851. It is unashamedly messianic in character as a way of creating a new secular world order as witnessed repeatedly in its most senior leaders over the years, see https://www.garynorth.com/public/20793.cfm for a great overview.
 On signs all round the country and all over our media, on Facebook avatars (people cannot go to the coast for example, car parks are closed), you have the word “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”.