Global IoT Wireless Network
As we have observed, governments and their healthcare systems have taken many different approaches to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. While some countries reacted early and set policies in motion, others denied the gravity of this virus and reacted too late to contain the spread and flatten the curve. These varied reaction times had a clear effect on those countries who lagged on taking aggressive measures, while those who reacted early were able to reduce the impact on their economy and healthcare services.
While healthcare systems across the globe struggle due to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply shortages, inadequate testing, bureaucracy, and lack of capacity to treat everyone in dire need, many citizens are left to wait and hear on what precautions and official directives to take from their local governments. While necessary, strict travel protocols, social-distancing, self-isolation, quarantine, and shelter in place measures have had their own consequences on the markets, economic livelihoods, and subsequent consequences on society as a whole.
With a vaccine out of reach for at least a year, there have been calls by leading experts around the world to come together in solidarity to enact global solutions to curb the loss of life, economic devastation, and the loss of various individual freedoms due to the virus’s impact.
Taking a page from the robust and near exemplary preparation from the likes of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea to name a few, what is needed is a worldwide privacy-first contact tracing system; a system managed by the people and for the people.
We need a global early warning system to protect us against humanity’s worst nightmares. — Dr. Larry Brilliant, leading american epidiemolist who helped successfully eradicate smallpox
What few governments seem to fully grasp yet is that any solution or system that may help save us from the devastation of COVID-19 will have to be a globally coordinated solution. Interdependence between our governments and economies is extremely critical.
This crisis is not only impacting economies and health worldwide but also highlighting many other societal and environmental issues that deeply influence humanity and all things on our planet’s ecosystems. This should force us to find the path towards global unity and respond with action to the wake-up call that we have been given as a collective.
Yuval Noah Harari expressed this same necessity and important decision in a recent article published in the Financial Times from March 19th, 2020.
“Humanity needs to make a choice. Will we travel down the route of disunity, or will we adopt the path of global solidarity? If we choose disunity, this will not only prolong the crisis, but will probably result in even worse catastrophes in the future. If we choose global solidarity, it will be a victory not only against the coronavirus, but against all future epidemics and crises that might assail humankind in the 21st century”
With today’s advancements in technologies and the ubiquity of smartphones on the planet, it is possible to combat this virus globally and efficiently. Crowdsourcing connectivity showed many disruptive and positive results in past applications, like Nodle, Firechat and Piperchain, which my team and I developed from decade-long R&D in the space of decentralized wireless networks and secure identity management systems.
By now, all statistics point to contact tracing as critical to curb the exponentially-spreading virus. An automated and extensive platform of tracing who Coronavirus-infected individuals have been in close contact with can rapidly reduce the cycle from the initial detection to treatment, isolation requirements, and then certification of recovery. Furthermore, it can drastically improve containment efficacy, and in many instances make quarantine unnecessary.
Tracing to-date has meant compromising privacy; users give away identities, location and even “under-the-skin” biometric data. This is the status quo of all the options available for contact tracing.
Liberal democracy needs a privacy-first version of contact tracing. Between surveillance and COVID-19, we do NOT have to be subject to the choice simply of one or the other.
My proposal: A simple mobile app leveraging Bluetooth and proximity could enable an efficient contact tracing solution. Each time a user/patient declares they have been infected, the app automatically alerts anonymously all the people they have been in contact with within the last 14 days. The alerting system works almost instantaneously making sure other users can take the necessary measures in the shortest possible time. Also, of paramount importance, and with today’s cryptography, it is possible to do this while preserving people’s privacy:
Users’ location data is never sent to the cloud;Bluetooth proximity data is encrypted and stays on your device;The users are sole owners of the data — Prior contacts are notified anonymously and securely when they fall sick of COVID19, and;All data is anonymized and encrypted
We are launching this mobile application as a non profit: we called it Coalition — #StopTheSpread
The Coalition App leverages crowdsourced connectivity and therefore it needs the contribution of everyone. We can only win this war against the Coronavirus if the Coalition app spreads faster than the virus itself.
Written by Micha Benoliel. Entrepreneur, I bring the world together through crowdsourced mobile connectivity. CEO and Co-Founder at Nodle.io and Coalition.