Categories
TV and Movies

The untold truth of Florence Pugh’s brother, Toby Sebastian

The incredibly talented Florence Pugh may be well-known for starring in films like Little Women and Midsommar and for dating Zach Braff, but it’s time to also acknowledge her very attractive and very talented older brother: Toby Sebastian (whose real name is Sebastian Toby Pugh). The 28-year-old Englishman was born in Oxford, but grew up in Andalusia, Spain with the rest of the Pugh family, including his and Florence’s other two sisters, Arabella and Rafaela. 

Sebastian’s biggest acting gig to date is on the fifth and sixth seasons of Game of Thrones as Trystane Martell, per The Cut. His character’s arc didn’t last long — and ended unfavorably — but he still made an impact on the HBO series. He also starred as Andrea Bocelli in the biopic The Music of Silence alongside Antonio Banderas, and in Trading Paint with John Travolta and Shania Twain. This actor also is super supportive of his little sis, posting his congratulations for her Oscar nom back in January 2020 and telling everyone how proud he is of her.

With the Instagram photo, he wrote, “4 years ago this girl was nominated for a Critics Choice Circle Award. 2 years later she was nominated for the @bafta Rising Star Award. Today my friends, she’s been nominated for an Oscar. Yes, an OSCAR. You have worked your arse off and you’ve been exquisite in every single one of your performances. Proud doesn’t cover it. Congratulations fatso, I love you.”

Toby Sebastian is a talented musician, just like his sister

Aside from being an actor, Toby Sebastian is also a talented musician. Like his Oscar-nominated sister (who used to be a music YouTuber by the name of Flossie Rose, according to Vulture), Sebastian sings and writes his own songs. His Instagram is jam-packed with music, clearly showing it’s quite possibly his favorite pastime. He released his debut EP Hamliar in 2019 and two singles, “No Money” and “Train to Mexico.”

Just like Toby touts his sister’s accomplishments, Florence Pugh does the same right back for him, including posting about “No Money” before its release. Alongside a clip of his music, she wrote, “GUUUYYYZZ! My beautiful big bro @tobysebastian1 has spent the last year writing, singing and tapping his way to creating some gems. His single No Money is out next Friday, 28th June on all platforms and THEN AN ENTIRE EP THE FOLLOWING WEEK. Get ready for some summer toons.”

When Sebastian isn’t acting, making music, and singing his family’s praises, he’s hanging out with his sweet granny; his girlfriend, Scarlet; and adorably large dog, Albert. His Instagram also has plenty of handsome photos to gawk at and plenty of cute family snaps so you can see him surrounded by his gorgeous sisters. 

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World News

Husband of ‘ReOpen’ lockdown protest group leader says he is ‘willing to KILL’ to fight coronavirus shutdown laws – The Sun

THE husband of 'ReOpen North Carolina' protest leader Ashley Smith has said he is "willing to kill" to oppose the coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking in a 17-minute clip posted online, Adam Smith added that he and other protesters would "bring guns" if authorities tried to impose the measures using force.



Smith's wife, Ashley, from Morganton, founded ReOpen North Carolina to oppose restrictions on movement and business activity in the state.

The group is one of many to have appeared across the US since the start of pandemic claiming the lockdowns are unconstitutional.

It has been holding weekly protests outside government offices in Raleigh and also staged a number over Memorial Day weekend.

North Carolina is currently in phase two of the process of easing its lockdown, with some businesses and restaurants now permitted to open their doors.

One protest, on April 28, ended with Mrs Smith being arrested for breaching the lockdown.

Speaking during a Facebook Live broadcast, Mr Smith said: "I want my kids to look back on our country and say, 'Man, what a great nation'.

"The whole world looked to them during that time when the New World Order tried to take over, and America said, 'No, we're taking up arms'.

"It's time for us to fight against this.

"Do we want to pick up arms? Do we want to kill anybody? Of course not.

"But are we willing to kill people? Are we willing to lay our lives down? We have to say yes.

"If you bring force, we're gonna bring force. If you bring guns, we're gonna bring guns.

"If you're armed with this, we're gonna be armed with this.

"That's why we remain free. Because we are willing to step up and fight against the forces of tyranny."

CASES NEAR 100,000

The clip comes as the US nears 100,000 deaths from the virus.

The country has also seen over 1.7million cases of the virus so far, almost a third of all those confirmed globally.

Smith continued: "If the [medical community] start getting overrun, and they start getting to 150 percent capacity… then we'll shut down and we'll go home.

"Until then, let the medical industry do what the medical industry does."

The video was deleted from Mr Smith's personal Facebook page not long after being published, but was later reposted to the ReOpen North Carolina Facebook group.

Captioning the clip, Mrs Smith wrote: "Maybe you agree with him and maybe you don't, but we have nothing to hide."



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TV and Movies

17 Coronation Street virtual pub quiz questions

Our weekly doses of Coronation Street have been rationed out recently after the soap was forced to shut down production amid the Coronavirus pandemic, which has led us to reminiscing about some of the show’s most memorable moments.

From Alan Bradley’s dramatic death to Deirdre Barlow and Mike Baldwin’s affair, there’s been plenty of drama on the Cobbles over the years since the show first hit our screens in 1960 and what better way to our knowledge about the goings on in Weatherfield than with a Coronation Street virtual pub quiz?

So if you’re a Corrie fan, settle down with a cuppa and see if you can answer these questions – then test your mates in your next virtual pub quiz. A virtual drink atThe Rovers Return Inn for anyone who can get them all correct!

Q: Who is the longest running character on Coronation Street?
A: Ken Barlow (he’s been in the soap since the very first episode!)

Q: What was the original title of the soap before it was renamed ‘Coronation Street’?
A: Creator Tony Warren had to rename the series from its original title Florizel Street

Q: Who played Sinead Tinker in Coronation Street until last year?
A: Katie McGlynn

Q: Which stalwart of the street said goodbye to the soap on Christmas Day 1987 and was sent off with a sing-a-long in the Rovers?
A: Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=nThE_HQGdMw%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

Q: What dramatic event did Coronation Street stage during their live episode to celebrate the soap’s 50th birthday in 2010?
A: The iconic tram crash

Q: What were Les and Cilla Battersby doing when they crashed through a ceiling together?
A: Having a bath with their dog

Q: Who did Gail Platt describe as ‘Norman Bates with a briefcase’?
A: Her serial killer ex-husband Richard Hillman

Q: Coronation Street featured the first transgender character in a UK soap opera, but what was her name?
A: Hayley Cropper

Q: How was Alan Bradley killed in 1989?
A: He was hit by a tram as he chased Rita across the tracks

Q: Which character did actress Michelle Keegan play on Corrie?
A: Tina McIntyre

Q: How old was Sarah-Louise Platt when she gave birth to her daughter, Bethany?
A: 13

Q: What record did Jack Duckworth put on before passing away in 2010?
A: A Matt Munro record

Q: Who took everyone in the Bistro hostage and shot Michelle Connor in 2018?
A: Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre)

Q: Who played Rosie Webster in the soap from 2000–2018?
A: Helen Flanagan

Q: How did Tracy Barlow murder Charlie Stubbs in 2007?
A: Using a heavy brass ornament, which she reached for while dancing to Oasis

Q: Who composed the iconic Coronation Street theme tune?
A: Eric Spear

Q: Which member of the British royal family has appeared in Corrie?
A: H.R.H. Prince Charles, who made an appearance on the show’s 40th Anniversary episode in 2000

More pub quiz questions

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  • 20 questions on 80s music for your next virtual pub quiz
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  • Geography quiz questions and answers for your next Zoom quiz

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Categories
Lifestyle

Starbucks Is Launching a New Pink Drink and Bringing Back the S’mores Frappuccino

There’s good news and then there’s good STARBUCKS-related news, and friend (it’s OK if I call you that, right?), today we have some really, really good Starbucks news. Today, the chain announced a ton of exciting new menu items PLUS the return of our dear favorite: the S’mores Frappuccino.

First up, we have a brand new drink offering: the Iced Guava Passionfruit Drink. This drink is a lot like those delicious matcha and pineapple ginger coconut milk drinks you probably tried this spring, but THIS ONE IS PINK. It combines the flavors of guava, passionfruit, pineapple, and ginger, and it’s hand-shaken with coconut milk and ice so it looks creamy and delicious.

Next up, we have some food and, boy, am I psyched about this! If you’re short on time for lunch, you can order ahead and get the new Grilled Chicken & Hummus Protein Box—I know I’m going to. This box  includes a sous vide grilled chicken breast paired with roasted red pepper hummus, naan bread, baby carrots, and snap peas.

But for those who love sugar, look no further than this adorable Unicorn Cake Pop  which is made with vanilla cake and confetti sprinkles and is shaped into a unicorn, dipped in a white chocolaty icing, and finished with a magical design that looks like, well, a unicorn! This one is only available for a limited-time and I think we all know it’s gonna go quickly.

FINALLY, the biggest news for me is that summer-favorite S’mores Frappuccino is back once again! It’s made with marshmallow-infused whipped cream, milk chocolate sauce, a creamy blend of vanilla, coffee, milk, and ice, even more marshmallow whipped cream, and is finished off with a graham cracker crumble.  I…cannot wait to get my hands on one again.

OK, that’s all I have for you for now. Go forth and make your coffee order for the morning because I already see a S’mores Frapp in my future…and maybe a Guava Passionfruit Drink this afternoon!

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Categories
Celebrities

Soundgarden Claim Vicky Cornell Used Charity Show Proceeds For Personal Purposes

Soundgarden has filed a counter suit against Chris Cornell‘s widow Vicky Cornell alleging that she used cash from a charity concert for personal gain.

Soundgarden filed legal papers in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida, Miami division on Wednesday over music copyright issues and ownership of social media accounts.

The band members alleged that although they performed for free during the “I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell” concert in January last year to benefit The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, the money raised from the charity concert was used by Vicky Cornell for “personal purposes for herself and her family.”

“All recipients of the revenue from the Cornell Concert have not been identified, and Vicky Cornell has failed to adequately respond to counter-plaintiffs’ formal and informal inquiries about how these revenues were used and expended,” says the suit, jointly filed by band members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd.

Vicky Cornell’s lawyer Marty Singer denied the allegations, and described them as “salacious, scurrilous, and vicious.”

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TV and Movies

Mark Ruffalo Gives 'Two Performances of a Lifetime' as Twins in the HBO Series 'I Know This Much Is True'

In a new miniseries titled I Know This Much Is True, actor Mark Ruffalo plays two twins who look alike but are polar opposites. The HBO series is based on a 1998 book by author Wally Lamb. I Know This Much Is True premiered on HBO May 10, 2020. So far, reviews of the series are mixed, but all agree on one thing. Ruffalo shines playing both identical twin brothers, Thomas and Dominick Birdsey.

Mark Ruffalo known for playing The Hulk, ‘rescues the show from mediocrity’, reviews of the new series ‘I Know This Much Is True’ say

At the January 2020 Television Critics Association panel, actor Mark Ruffalo explained what it was like to portray two different people in the same show.

“We took five weeks off to really separate these two guys,” he told press. “… It was important for us to really, really have these guys be two different people.”

Time reported on the two characters’ differences:

Dominick appears to be the responsible twin … he has dutifully managed his brother’s affairs. But Thomas’ public self-mutilation—which he says is an act of protest against the increasingly inevitable Gulf War … plunges Dominick’s life into crisis too.

I Know This Much Is True comes from the mind of “writer-director Derek Cianfrance.” Time writes that Cianfrance, who also directed the desperately sad drama Blue Valentine, “smartly dilutes the melodrama with the same blunt realism” as his 2010 movie. However, the reviewer ultimately believes that I Know This Much Is True “doesn’t entirely succeed at bringing the narrative down to earth.” The HBO series’ savior? None other than Mark Ruffalo.

“It’s Ruffalo who rescues the show from mediocrity, counteracting heavy-handed twists and on-the-nose lines,” Time reports. The review continued:

And while A-list actors’ portrayals of mentally ill characters reliably attract awards attention, it is as Dominick that Ruffalo does some of his best work. Commanding as it is, his performance is also generous. It brings out the best in scene partners.

HBO show ‘I Know This Much Is True’ gets mixed reviews from TV critics

Collider‘s reviewer agreed. They gushed that Ruffalo, the actor perhaps best-known for his role as the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is “remarkable.” The critic acknowledged that I Know This Much Is True is a “heavy, heavy show”– as a “simple warning.” However, the critique argued that the darkness paid off.

“Those brave enough to watch I Know This Much Is True in its entirety will be richly rewarded by this sweet, sad gem of a series, which boasts stellar writing and marvelous performances from a very impressive ensemble,” the review read. As for Ruffalo, the critic predicted awards in his future.

“He should clear space on his mantle because this is the very definition of an Emmy-worthy performance,” they wrote.

The Collider writer expanded on Ruffalo’s intense efforts turning from one character into another. They explained:

Ruffalo spent 15 weeks filming Dominick’s scenes before taking a 5-week break to gain for 30 pounds to play Thomas, and the transformation is startling. It’s not just the physical difference between the characters, it’s the way Ruffalo carries himself as each brother, his confidence and body language. … when this series asks him to flex muscles on opposite sides of the acting spectrum, he rises to the challenge.

Actor Mark Ruffalo portrays two twins in the HBO series, showing off his range

The Independent’s reviewer didn’t totally align with the Collider’s take on the HBO series. The Independent wrote, rather devastatingly, I Know This Much Is True “is sensitively written, stylishly directed, brilliantly acted, and impossible to recommend.” The reviewer called the show “television as endurance exercise.” Also: “an unrelentingly grim procession of trauma and misery.” But the critique continued, however reluctantly, that Ruffalo was impressive. They wrote:

These Big Male Actors love a crack at twins, don’t they? Tom Hardy as the Krays in Legend, Nicolas Cage in Adaptation, Adam Sandler in Jack & Jill. Nothing is better for showing one’s Range, and maybe Ruffalo felt that this gave him the scope for a more sensitive exploration of duality than was afforded by his turns as The Incredible Hulk. I’m almost afraid to say it because it’s so obvious, but Ruffalo is very good.

Variety’s critic put Ruffalo’s performance beautifully.

“Both brothers carry the weight of the world; Ruffalo, playing off himself, illuminates how they shoulder it differently even as he reveals the simple fact that the burden is indeed shared,” the review read.

However, much like the Independent, Variety didn’t think much of the series as a whole.

“At a certain point, we cannot help shutting down a bit,” the reviewer explained. “In part for the extremity of the agony, and in part because it leads nowhere.” Still, they didn’t have a negative thing to say about the show’s lead.

“Ruffalo’s the one you’ll watch for,” Variety’s critic wrote. At the very least, it sounds like his acting might make the show worth the pain.

“Ruffalo’s performances carry the series,” the review emphasized.

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World News

There's NOTHING to stop people lying to NHS coronavirus tracking app

‘Trolls could sow chaos’ with NHS coronavirus tracking app: Experts warn there’s NOTHING to stop people lying to program and say foreign spies could shut down entire cities with false reports

  • The NHSX contact-tracing app will first be given to NHS staff on Isle of Wight, then to the public on the island
  • If it works as an alert system for COVID-19 it will be used nationally in the UK as part of ‘test, track and trace’
  • NHS insists the app won’t collect personal identifying information but merely a log of Bluetooth connections
  • It asks users for the first half of their postcode and whether they have symptoms, but no name or address
  • Have you been given access to the new app? Email [email protected] or [email protected] 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The NHS’s new coronavirus track-and-trace app could be hijacked by trolls bent on ‘sowing chaos for malicious pleasure’ with people more likely to ignore warnings about self-isolating if ‘false alerts’ become widespread, experts warned today.

The UK app is currently the only one in the world that will allow an element of self reporting – letting users trigger alerts to other people by reporting they have symptoms.

In the early version of the app, if a member of the public becomes unwell with symptoms of Covid-19 they use the app to inform the NHS – and will trigger an anonymous ‘yellow’ alert to those other users with whom they came into significant contact over the previous few days. 

A so-called red alert will follow up to a week later if a medical test confirms that the original user is infected and telling them they should self-isolate. The original user will have to enter a PIN provided by the NHS to trigger the red alert.

Several experts have warned that the user-triggered yellow alerts could lead to a collapse in the public’s trust in the app if there is an outbreak of ‘crying wolf’.

Because the app does not identify users, there will be no way to punish people who trigger false alerts.  

Professor Michael Veale, a lecturer in Digital Rights and Regulation at UCL in London told MailOnline: ‘The UK is the only country I am aware of which is even considering allowing self-reporting in the app due to the risk of abuse. Small and medium-scale targeted attacks, say on your employer (to get the day off work), your parents (to get the day off school), a famous person or the like, are effectively impossible to stop through any method if you allow self-reporting.

‘You can’t distinguish them from a real risk, and of course, you can’t be too heavy-handed with your spam filter, else you’ll miss real infection chains. The worry I have is that self-reporting will create a lot of Boy Who Cried Wolf abuse’.

The NHS is rolling out its new coronavirus track-and-trace app today for testing across the Isle of Wight. This is how it will work

STEP ONE: DOWNLOAD THE APP

Britons will be able to download the app for free from the Department of Health website.

It is also available vi the Apple and Android app stores or via a link sent by email to NHS and public sector workers. 

It is being tested on the Isle of Wight before a potential roll-out across the country, probably one region at a time.

STEP TWO:  PROVIDE A PARTIAL POSTCODE

To register the person will be asked to provide the first half of their postcode, which shows the NHS the town or borough they live in – but not their name or their exact home address.

The user will be asked to allow the app to use the phone’s bluetooth to keep track of other phones it comes in to close to and for how long for. 

The NHS insists it will not be tracking location data – only phones

But while the Government has said ‘your postcode will not be used to track your location’ – it is less clear if they also mean your location will not be tracked at all.

STEP THREE: KEEP YOUR PHONE ON

The user will be told to keep their phone and Bluetooth switched on at all times and the app will run in the background without them doing anything.

The user will also be asked to allow ‘push notifications’ – which allows the NHS to send a person messages directly to their phones. 

When an individual goes out, the app will keep a log of every time it comes within Bluetooth range of another phone – but that person must also have the app. 

All IDs will be anonymous, with each app registered to a code rather than a person or address.

STEP FOUR: REPORT YOUR SYMPTOMS IF YOU BECOME ILL

If someone becomes ill they will be asked to log on to the app and input it. They will be asked if they have the common symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature and a continuous cough.

If no, nothing will happen. If yes, they will be told to order a coronavirus test.

STEP FIVE: APP SENDS YOUR DATA TO THE NHS SERVER FOR ANALYSIS BY EXPERTS

If it is a suspected coronavirus case these symptoms and the anonymous IDs of all the phones the user has come into contact with are automatically sent to an NHS server.

The NHS will analyse the data sent by the original sufferer using what it calls a ‘complex algorithm’. Although it is believed to be largely based on distance of between one and two metres, and the amount of time, probably around ten to 15 minutes.

STEP SIX: NHS SENDS A TAILORED YELLOW AND RED ALERTS TO CONTACTS 

It will then alert app users who have been in ‘significant contact’ with the original person with symptoms. For those who have been in contact with someone who has self reported symptoms, the app will send a yellow alert.

In early versions of the app, this warns the user that they have been in contact with someone who has reported symptoms.

If the original sufferer tests positive, everyone they have been in contact with will receive a stronger ‘red’ alert telling them to go into quarantine. The origInal sufferer triggers the red alert by entering a PIN issued by the NHS after they test positive. 

The Department of Health has not revealed exactly what the alerts will say. The Department of Health says: ‘The app will advise the public what action to take if a user has been close to someone who has become symptomatic. The advice on what people should do can be adapted as the context and approach evolves.’

The app will calculate how at risk a contact is by measuring their exposure to the person with symptoms. It will measure exposure by time and proximity. The NHS analysts will set the risk parameters that trigger alerts.

STEP SEVEN: ORIGINAL SUFFERER CONTACTED BY HUMAN NHS CONTACT TRACERS

The app will issue the original person with symptoms instructions on how to get a test using the software. 

One of around 10,000 UK human contact tracers may also get in contact on the phone and ask the app user how many people are in their household, where they have been and who they have been close to, that they know of, to find people who may not have been picked up by the bluetooth.

They will also try to contact these new contacts if required. 

STEP EIGHT: SUFFERER IS TESTED

Once the Covid-19 test arrives at the person’s home they will be expected to swab and then put it back in the post to an NHS testing centre. They may also be eligible for a home test by a health worker or visit one of the country’s test centres. The result should be available within 48 hours.

There are then two possible outcomes:

•  The person tests negative. In this case, your contacts are told via a message that it was a false notification.

• The person tests positive. In this case, your contacts are asked to isolate for 14 days, and get them into the clinical testing path. 

STEP NINE: HUMAN CONTACT TRACERS CONTACT AT-RISK CONTACTS OF ORIGINAL SUFFERER AND PLOT HOTSPOTS

The NHS’ army of human contact tracers will contact app users who have been in ‘significant contact’ with the original person with symptoms will be alerted through the app. They will provided with ‘health advice’ – which may include self isolation – based on the NHS’ assessment of their level of risk. Not everyone who has been in contact will be alerted based on the NHS algorithm. This advice will be constantly modified by doctors based on the current sutuation.

If a hotspot of new cases emerges, the users will be advised to take more urgent action, such as staying at home or even seeking medical attention. The NHS team of contact tracers will then individually contact everyone who has been in contact with the sufferer, either through the app or by other means.  

 

Countries who have adopted the Apple-Google Covid-19 tracing app ‘not compatible’ with the NHS’ own software

Germany

Italy 

Switzerland

Austria

Estonia

Ireland 

– The United States of America is expected to use it – but no final decision has been made yet 

The Government claims it could easily spot ‘anomalous patterns of activity’ in the software being tested on the Isle of Wight today and says it will use ‘sophisticated risk analysis’ to halt false alerts.

But in France ministers have just rejected this idea, deciding instead to send a single alert via their app only when a test result confirms the app user is ill with coronavirus.

Professor Veale said: ‘Epidemiologists in the countries we work with ruled out self-reporting immediately, both because of the data quality in this asymptomatic disease, and the lack of trust in the instructions the false alerts would cause. The only way to make sure that people can be held to account for submitting false reports is to identify them, which takes you down a slippery slope.’

Health apps expert Dr Dimitra Petrakaki, from the University of Sussex Business School warned: Contact tracing apps rely on individual self-reporting. This means that there is no guarantee either that all individuals will systematically self-report or that the data reported will be true.

Experts have said that nations rolling out apps must weed out hoaxers or the system could be abused by the public, businesses, protest groups or even rogue states.

A paper published last month by the Brookings Institution in Washington written by three leading US academics in the fields of science, tech and law warned: ‘The issue of malicious use is paramount. Trolls could sow chaos for the malicious pleasure of it. Protesters could trigger panic as a form of civil disobedience. A foreign intelligence operation could shut down an entire city by falsely reporting COVID-19 infections in every neighborhood. There are a great many vulnerabilities underlying this platform that have still yet to be explored’.

The British app has been developed by NHSX, whose boss Martin Gould has said that self-reporting is one of its greatest strengths, meaning people will be warned earlier that they could have been exposed to coronavirus. He said that this is possible in the UK because NHSX can spot ‘anomalous patterns of activity’ including hacking attempts and if people were making malicious reports. 

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, part of the UK’s eavesdropping intelligence service GCHQ, admits that these apps can bring problems but said it would only work properly using self-reporting.

In a lengthy blog post yesterday, one of Britain’s most senior spies, Dr Ian Levy, said the app would bring ‘interesting security challenges’, adding: ‘One of the obvious ones is that an attacker can (for example) sit outside a hospital with some custom kit, and create fake but realistic looking proximity events for everyone in the hospital and then report myself as sick. Without some smarts, everyone would be told to self isolate. In our model, the risk modelling can catch this sort of attack and mitigate it. We can’t see how a similar mitigation can be done in some of the other decentralised models without removing self diagnosis’.

Australia’s COVIDSafe app users have been warned to ignore a new email scam that demands users pay a fine for leaving their home. The bogus email has been circulating under the guise of a My Gov account and demands reparation from users for unnecessarily breaching the COVID-19 restriction.  

Britain’s new app will be tested on the Isle of Wight from today onwards – but there are growing concerns about its privacy settings and why the Government shunned a Google-Apple alternative adopted by other countries.   

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has decided the first public tests on their contact tracing software would begin on the self-contained island of 140,000 people, with NHS and council staff the first to be given access –  and has insisted they would enjoy ‘high privacy’. 

But question marks have been raised after other nations, such as Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland have chosen to implement a decentralised system – where the data always remains on a person’s phone.

Their model, seen as more secure and immune from hacking by some experts due to spreading the collected information, is also backed by tech giants Apple and Google.

The UK has instead developed its own centralised app with data sent to the Government’s servers when someone registers coronavirus symptoms, allowing the NHS to send them a test in the post.  

Critics have argued that by not using the same app or framework as the Europeans the two systems are not compatible, meaning Brits travelling to those countries could be unnecessarily placed in quarantine for 14 days upon arrival once the lockdown is eased. The US is also expected to plump for the Apple – Google model.

Lawyers have also suggested that it may also breach human rights and data protection laws – and the NHS is now facing questions about the decision to develop an app when other countries are plumping for the more privacy-centric approach.      

Matthew Ryder, a QC at Matrix Chambers in London – who sits on the Guardian’s Scott Trust – has warned the app could be illegal and suggested it is ‘inevitable’ the nationwide rollout of the app could be challenged in the High Court.

Tory MP Damian Collins has also published ten questions about how the government will protects app users’ data.  

He told the BBC: ‘The government needs to justify why they are going for the system that has a greater interference than the one that should do the job with less interference.

‘If Germany, the US and Italy can all do the job that we want to do with a decentralised system that Apple and Google have facilitated, which is the least interference of privacy, we need to understand why the UK thinks it can’t do the job and needs a different system. 

‘What the Information Commissioner said that we agree with is that there needs to be a data impact assessment. So that the information commissioner and everyone else can understand what the data impact assessment is and why the NHS thinks they need these extra interferences with our privacy in order to be able to do the job. This is a really important thing and we need to protect rights’.

He added: ‘It’s almost inevitable that if the Government doesn’t take the approach that the information commissioner and others are suggesting, hopefully they will, then are going to be legal implications including the possibility of a legal challenge. ‘ 

After today’s tests all Isle of Wight residents will be able to download the software on to their smartphones from Thursday. 

If the tests are successful it could be rolled out across the country within weeks as ministers seek to shape a strategy to allow some economic activity to resume, with the long-awaited ‘roadmap’ for easing lockdown being published on Sunday. 

Users will input into the app when they have symptoms linked to Covid-19. Developed by NHSX, the health service’s tech innovation arm, the software will then use Bluetooth to anonymously monitor and log when app users come into contact with each other.

The software will alert people if they have been in close contact with someone who later fell ill with coronavirus, which has killed 28,734 in the UK so far, so they can self-isolate and be tested if necessary.  

Some MPs have raised concerns about privacy and the amount of data it will gather – but the NHS insists it is vital to stop further outbreaks of the virus and to prevent people from spreading the virus without realising they have it, as well as alerting authorities to local clusters of cases. 

Google and Apple have managed to develop software which serves the same function but in a way that contains all the necessary data inside someone’s phone and doesn’t need a server. Other countries including Germany and Switzerland are using this approach. 

Because no movement or tracking information is stored on a central server, it would be invisible to Google, Apple and the NHS and there would be nothing to hack.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a user’s phone will store anonymously the information about all the phones it has been within two metres of for more than 15 minutes in the previous few days.

He said one of the aspects being tested in the trial on the Isle of Wight is whether the best thing is for someone who gets a message saying they have been in contact with someone with symptoms should self-isolate ‘in case you develop the symptoms’.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘This is one of the reasons that we want to test it to ensure that we get the rules right around what we advise people to do as soon as the contact tracing pings you.’

Mr Hancock said the app would allow the Government to have a picture of where there might be virus hotspots.

He said: ‘The more people who have the app the better.’

He said human contact tracing is important alongside technology.

He said: ‘Of course we use the technology but we’re going to be using people too in this test, track and trace system.’  

Mr Hancock said it was being used on the Isle of Wight because the fact that the population is small and cut off from the mainland meant the experiment could be carried out in ‘proper scientifically-controlled conditions’.

Pressed on privacy and the use of data, Mr Hancock reiterated that information will be stored on a person’s phone until the point they need to get in contact with the NHS to get a test.

He said: ‘I think we can give very significant reassurances on the privacy aspect but what I can tell you is that if you download the app then you are doing your duty and you are helping to save lives, and you’re helping to control the spread of the virus, and that’s true as of this morning on the Isle of Wight amongst NHS staff, but it’ll be true increasingly across the country as we roll it out.’

Mr Hancock said the app is ‘a very, very positive step in terms of us all being able to get some of our liberty back’. 

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen has said the Government should look at decentralised app models – where contact-tracing data stays on a user’s device.

The organisation’s concerns that ‘the Government may be planning to route private data through a central database, opening the door to pervasive state surveillance and privacy infringement, with potentially discriminatory effects’ was put to the Health Secretary.

Mr Hancock responded: ‘That’s completely wrong.’

Asked why, he said: ‘Firstly because the data is stored on your phone until you need to get in contact with the NHS in order to get a test and secondly because the purposes of this are purely and simply to control the spread of the virus, which is really important.

‘Thirdly because we’ve all had to give up significant infringements on our liberty, for instance with the social distancing measures and the lockdown, and we want to release those, and this approach will help us to release them … I can reassure you that it’s completely untrue.’

If the island trial is successful the Government plans to roll out the app to everyone across the UK as a crucial element of its ‘test, track and trace’ plan for keeping the country out of lockdown in future as it adapts to life with the virus.

Deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said today: ‘It’s highly unlikely that the COVID-19 virus is going to go away… therefore, testing and contact tracing is going to have to become part of our daily lives for the future’. 



People will be asked to give the first half of their postcode so the NHS can collect vague, anonymised data – at town or village level – about where outbreaks of the coronavirus are appearing (pictured left). If someone has been close to a person who is later believed to be ill with COVID-19 they will receive an anonymous yellow alert that they are at risk (right). If the original sufferer tests positive for coronavirus, they will receive a red alert. 


People eligible for the app will be sent a download link when it is available for them to start using. It will rely on people accurately reporting whether they are ill or not, or have tested positive. Contacts will be advised to self-isolate while someone is tested

Experts say 60 per cent of the population or more will need to download the app for it to work well. Government figures have not put a target on uptake but will urge everybody who can to download the app when it becomes available, adopting the mantra ‘download the app, protect the NHS, save lives’.

The app will rely on people being honest about when they feel ill – data must be put into the app by the user. It is not clear what will constitute close enough contact for someone to be alerted that they are at risk. The World Health Organization’s rule is 15 minutes within six-and-a-half feet (2m), but the Department of Health said a ‘complex risk algorithm’ would dictate who would be warned. 

The programme on the Isle of Wight will carry on for around two weeks to check whether the system works and whether people actually download and use it properly. If successful, the app will start to be used on mainland Britain from mid-May, the Department of Health said, while continuing on the Isle of Wight. 

But there are concerns that the data the NHS app collects might be vulnerable because officials have elected to store it on a central database on NHS servers.

Some other countries including Switzerland and Germany are using technology which stores all data on someone’s own phone and never submits it to authorities. 

The CEO of NHSX, the digital arm of the health service, today said he could not confirm exactly who would have access to data collected by the NHS app, saying only that an organisation must have a valid public health reason to access it. He insisted that the app will never upload private, identifying information such as someone’s name or address.

The app has also failed the tests it must pass to be officially listed on the NHS app store, including cyber-security measures, according to claims made by an NHS official in the Health Service Journal.     

It is reported to be below the normal standards the NHS requires to officially publish an app for mobile users, and has not lived up to expectations set on cyber-security, performance and its ‘clinical safety’. Exactly how it failed those measures is unclear.

The Department of Health disputed the reports and called them ‘factually untrue’, insisting the app is being fast-tracked, has not failed any tests and will go through normal approval channels after it is rolled out on the Isle of Wight.

Downloading and using the app will be voluntary but officials hope huge numbers of people will be persuaded to take part in the hope of lifting movement restrictions.

HOW IS THE NHS TRACING APP DIFFERENT TO ONE MADE BY APPLE AND GOOGLE? 

The app technologies developed by Google/Apple and the NHS are based on the same principle – they keep a log of who someone has come into close contact with – but the way they store data is the main difference. The NHS’s keeps information in a centralised database, while the Google/Apple app is de-centralised.

NHS app: Lists on NHS servers 

The NHSX app will create an alert every time two app users come within Bluetooth range of one another and log this in the user’s phone.

Each person will essentially build up a list of everyone they have been in ‘contact’ with. This will be anonymised so the lists will actually just be numbers or codes, not lists of names or addresses. 

If someone is diagnosed with the coronavirus or reports that they have symptoms, all the app users they got close to during the time that they were considered infectious – this will vary from person to person – will receive an alert telling them they have been put at risk of COVID-19 – but it won’t name the person who was diagnosed. 

NHSX insists it will delete people’s data when they get rid of the app. 

Apple/Google: Contained on phones

In Apple and Google’s de-centralised approach, meanwhile, the server and list element of this process is removed and the entire log is contained in someone’s phone.

That app works by exchanging a digital ‘token’ with every phone someone comes within Bluetooth range of over a fixed period.

If one person develops symptoms of the coronavirus or tests positive, they will be able to enter this information into the app.

The phone will then send out a notification to all the devices they have exchanged tokens with during the infection window, to make people aware they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The server database will not be necessary because each phone will keep an individual log of the bluetooth profiles someone has come close to. These will then be linked anonymously to people’s NHS apps and alerts can be pushed through that even after the person is out of bluetooth range.

It is understood that if someone later deletes the Google/Apple app and closes their account their data would be erased. 

Will NHS benefit from central data?

If the NHS collects the data it may be able to use it as part of wider contact tracing efforts as well as being able to detect local outbreaks using location data.

In future, if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, members of an army of 18,000 ‘contact tracers’ will be tasked with working out who else that patient has come into contact with and put at risk.

It is not clear how much access the human contact tracers will have to data collected through the app. 

NHS and council staff on the Isle of Wight will be sent a download link by email today, and residents on the island will receive letters in the post with instructions on how to get the app on Thursday. 

It is being trialled on the Isle of Wight because it is a small, self-contained community which is easier to control, Mr Hancock said. Initial testing was carried out on an even smaller self-contained community at RAF Leeming, an air base in North Yorkshire, and it is now being scaled up.

Mr Hancock  claimed that on the Isle of Wight it could be tested in ‘scientific’ conditions because people cannot come and go freely – there is no bridge or tunnel between the Isle and mainland Britain.

It will be easier for officials to get a clear idea of what proportion of the population has downloaded the app, and to get tests for large parts of communities quickly. 

But privacy concerns have been raised about the way the app works. 

Dr Michael Veale, a lecturer in digital rights at University College London, said on BBC Radio 4 this morning: ‘One thing people need to do is have deep trust that this data will not be misused or that the system will not turn slowly into something that starts to identify people more individually.’

The NHSX app focuses on a centralised approach in which any interactions between people are recorded by the phone and then, if someone is flagged as a coronavirus patient, sent back to a server run by the NHS. 

NHSX is on an offensive to assuage people’s concerns about privacy and insists that no personal information will be collected. People will be identified by codes which are not linked to their name or address.

Instead, the app will keep a log of Bluetooth connections between codes and, when one of the codes is upgraded to signify that the patient attached to it has tested positive or become ill (this will be done by the user via the app), other codes which had been in contact with that one will be alerted anonymously. 

All the connections – which will look to the human eye like a series of pairs of numbers, with one number in common – will then be uploaded to a central NHS database and stored.

NHSX chief executive, Matthew Gould, confirmed the app will collect no specific personal data from users such as their name or address.

He said: ‘The app is designed so you don’t have to give it your personal details to use it – it does ask for the first half of your postcode but only that. 

‘You can use it without giving any other personal details at all – it doesn’t know who you are, it doesn’t know who you’ve been near, it doesn’t know where you’ve been.’ 

But experts say this level of data collection – tracking the movements of one unchanging number and linking it to others – is fraught with hazards.

It is possible that if the data was hacked, one of the codes – each person’s identifying code remains the same over time –  could be linked to a person if the hacker could pinpoint the code and person in the same place. This could then be used to track them repeatedly as their Bluetooth checked in at other places.

The NHS is now facing questions as to why it needs to develop the app in this manner when other countries are plumping for the more privacy-centric approach.

Google and Apple have managed to develop software which serves the same function but in a way that contains all the necessary data inside someone’s phone and doesn’t need a server. Other countries including Germany and Switzerland are using this approach. 

Because no movement or tracking information is stored on a central server, it would be invisible to Google, Apple and the NHS and there would be nothing to hack.

That technology works by exchanging a digital ‘token’ with every phone someone comes within Bluetooth range of over a fixed period.

If one person develops symptoms of the coronavirus or tests positive, they will be able to enter this information into the app.

The phone will then send out a notification to all the devices they have exchanged tokens with during the infection window, to make people aware they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The process is confined to the individual’s handset and the scope of the information sent to the NHS is strictly limited. 

The UK now has more confirmed COVID-19 deaths – according to backdated statistics from the Office for National Statistics, National Records Scotland, and Northern Ireland’s NISRA – than any other country in Europe

Experts fear that the system could be used to label people as infected or at-risk in a way that other people would be able to see, meaning they could face discrimination.

Dr Veale said: ‘We’ve seen in China the traffic light system of red, yellow, green – ‘are you suitable to come into this building or come into work’ – and a centralised system is really just a few steps away from creating those kind of persistent identifiers that allow you to make that kind of approach.

‘Whereas a decentralised system really does proximity tracing and does not do more than that. People can trust that technically.’  

With the NHS’s approach, people will have to trust the health service and therefore the Government with their personal information.

Human rights group Amnesty International raised alarm about the prospect.

Scientists have said they are worried about ‘mission creep’ in which people are told the data will be used for one thing but then the people controlling the data decide to use it for something else.

Amnesty International UK director, Kate Allen, said the Government should be looking at decentralised app models where contact-tracing data stays on a user’s device. 

ISLE OF WIGHT FACTFILE

The Isle of Wight is an island off the south coast of England, linked by ferry to Portsmouth and Southampton.

The island has a population of around 141,000 people.

More than a quarter of all its residents (27.3 per cent) are older than 65, and the proportion is increasing. It is one of the most elderly communities in England & Wales. 

Its biggest town is Newport and has a population of just 18,700 people. Only three towns on the island have more than 10,000 residents.

One in six houses are occupied by someone older than 65 living on their own.

The Isle of Wight is off the coast of Portsmouth and Southampton

The vast majority of people on the island are white and British – 94.8 per cent, compared to 85.9 per cent in England. Just under two per cent are ‘other white’, while just over one per cent are Asian.

Bob Seely MBE is the MP for the island. He is a member of the Conservative Party and has held office since 2017. The Conservatives also hold a majority on the borough council.

However, officials says they are maintaining strict privacy rules while also gathering anonymous data about the numbers of coronavirus cases in certain areas, which could help hospitals to plan for outbreaks, for example.

Ms Allen said: ‘We’re extremely concerned that the Government may be planning to route private data through a central database, opening the door to pervasive state surveillance and privacy infringement, with potentially discriminatory effects. 

‘Ministers should instead be examining decentralised, privacy-preserving models such as those many European governments are pursuing. 

‘In these extraordinary times, contact-tracing apps and other technology could potentially be useful tools in responding to COVID-19, but our privacy and rights must not become another casualty of the virus.’

Dr Veale also promoted the benefits of the de-centralised model, adding: ‘In the Apple and Google approach… you don’t need to trust Apple and Google with your data because it never leaves your device.

‘It removes the need to have an identifiable central database of any sort whatsoever. This is being used in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Estonia and also in Ireland.’ 

The app will form a crucial part of the Government’s three-point ‘test, track and trace’ plan for helping the country to recover from its current crisis.

This will work by officials closely watching where and when new cases and outbreaks of the virus appear and isolating people to stamp them out.

First, anyone who is suspected of having the virus will be tested – there are still currently limits on who can get a test, but these are expected to be lifted by the time the country moves out of lockdown.

If someone tests positive, they will be told to self-isolate as long as they are otherwise healthy and don’t need hospital treatment.

Their households will have to isolate with them and then Government ‘contact tracers’ will work to establish a social network around the patient.

This will involve working out everyone who has come into close enough contact with the patient that they are at risk of having been infected with COVID-19.

All the people in that social network will then also be told to self-isolate until they can be sure they’re virus free, or until they are diagnosed with a test. If they test positive, the same contact tracing procedure will begin for them.

The app will be a vital part of this contact tracing effort, because it will be able to alert people who the patient may have put at risk without them knowing – at a shop or doctor’s surgery, for example. 

Cybersecurity experts and human rights experts are also concerned about ‘mission creep’ in which the app starts off with one purpose but then officials decide to use its data for something else.  

Professor Mark Ryan, a computer security lecturer at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘Everyone agrees that proximity tracing is a vital part of combating COVID and ending the lockdown. 

‘However, we have to be sure that proximity tracing technology does not lead to unfettered surveillance of people’s movements and activities. 

‘To this end, we call upon the government to publish open source code of the apps and server processes that will be used. 

‘Remember that, unlike the cases of surveillance to combat terrorism or other crime, there is no requirement of secrecy in what strategies and technologies are being used against COVID.’

Information collected by the app will also give the Government insight into where the virus is spreading.

As officials continue to track the virus in future, they will have to try to work out how many people who have had COVID-19 in the past and recovered.  

The roll-out of ‘immunity passports’ is being considered by ministers as part of the government’s attempts to get Britain back to work after the coronavirus lockdown is eased.

Ministers are believed to be in talks with tech firms about developing a form of digital identification which would verify who someone is and show whether they have been tested for the disease.

The passports could either be based on antigen testing which shows if someone currently has coronavirus or on antibody testing which shows if someone has had it.

The digital documents would show if someone has tested negative on an antigen test or if they have shown to have some resistance to coronavirus after an antibody test, demonstrating to an employer they are safe to re-enter the workplace.

Such a scheme could be a game-changer for ministers as they try to figure out how to kickstart the UK economy.

But the World Health Organization has warned against these immunity passports because scientists are not sure whether people actually become immune after illness.

In a statement the WHO said: ‘There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.’ 

Boris Johnson is expected to unveil his lockdown exit strategy in an address to the nation on Sunday, having delayed the announcement from Thursday as frantic work continues in Whitehall.

Today it emerged that reduced hot-desking, the closure of office lifts and canteens, and putting tape on the floor to mark where people should stand are all likely to be proposed by the government under plans to restore office working. 

How does the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app work? Will it track my every move? Will it drain your battery? And why has the government shunned Apple and Google’s system?

The NHS is rolling out its new coronavirus track-and-trace app today for testing across the Isle of Wight.

Health and council workers will be asked to download the software on to smartphones to see if it works – and if phones can accurately trace personal contacts via bluetooth.

But critics have questioned why the Government has chosen to collect the data of millions of people in one central system, rather than spreading the risk using a decentralised model adopted in Germany, backed by tech giants Apple and Google. 

This is how the NHS app works – and the key differences between the UK’s software and the Google-Apple app.


1. DOWNLOAD THE APP

Britons will be able to download the app for free from the Department of Health website.

It is also available via the Apple and Android app stores or via a link sent by email to NHS and public sector workers. 

It is being tested on the Isle of Wight before a potential roll-out across the country, probably one region at a time.

2. PROVIDE A PARTIAL POSTCODE

To register the person will be asked to provide the first half of their postcode, which shows the NHS the town or borough they live in – but not their name or their exact home address.

The user will be asked to allow the app to use the phone’s bluetooth to keep track of other phones it comes close to and how long for. 

The NHS insists it will not be tracking location data – only phones.

But while the Government has said ‘your postcode will not be used to track your location’ – it is less clear if they also mean your location will not be tracked at all.

3. KEEP YOUR PHONE ON


The user will be told to keep their phone and Bluetooth switched on at all times and the app will run in the background without them doing anything.

The user will also be asked to allow ‘push notifications’ – which allows the NHS to send a person messages directly to their phones. 

When an individual goes out, the app will keep a log of every time it comes within Bluetooth range of another phone – but that person must also have the app. 

All IDs will be anonymous, with each app registered to a code rather than a person or address.

4. REPORT YOUR SYMPTOMS IF YOU BECOME ILL

If someone becomes ill they will be asked to log on to the app and input it. They will be asked if they have the common symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature and a continuous cough.

If no, nothing will happen. If yes, they will be told to order a coronavirus test.

5 APP SENDS YOUR DATA TO THE NHS SERVER FOR ANALYSIS BY EXPERTS

If it is a suspected coronavirus case these symptoms and the anonymous IDs of all the phones the user has come into contact with are automatically sent to an NHS server.

The NHS will analyse the data sent by the original sufferer using what it calls a ‘complex algorithm’. Although it is believed to be largely based on distance of between one and two metres, and the amount of time, probably around ten to 15 minutes.


6 NHS SENDS A TAILORED ALERT TO CONTACTS  

It will then alert app users who have been in ‘significant contact’ with the original person with symptoms. For those who have been in contact with someone who has self reported symptoms, the app will send a yellow alert.

In early versions of the app, This warns the user that they have been in contact with someone who has reported symptoms.

If the original sufferer tests positive, everyone they have been in contact with will receive a stronger ‘red’ alert telling them to go into quarantine.

The Department of Health has not revealed exactly what the alerts will say. The Department of Health says: ‘The app will advise the public what action to take if a user has been close to someone who has become symptomatic. The advice on what people should do can be adapted as the context and approach evolves.’

The app will calculate how at risk a contact is by measuring their exposure to the person with symptoms. It will measure exposure by time and proximity. The NHS analysts will set the risk parameters that trigger alerts.

7. ORIGINAL SUFFERER CONTACTED BY HUMAN NHS CONTACT TRACERS

The app will issue the original person with symptoms instructions on how to get a test using the software. 

One of around 10,000 UK human contact tracers may also get in contact on the phone and ask the app user how many people are in their household, where they have been and who they have been close to, that they know of, to find people who may not have been picked up by the bluetooth.

They will also try to contact these new contacts if required. 

SUFFERER IS TESTED

Once the Covid-19 test arrives at the person’s home they will be expected to swab and then put it back in the post to an NHS testing centre. They may also be eligible for a home test by a health worker or visit one of the country’s test centres. The result should be available within 48 hours.

There are then two possible outcomes:

•  The person tests negative. In this case, your contacts are told via a message that it was a false notification.

• The person tests positive. In this case, your contacts are asked to isolate for 14 days, and get them into the clinical testing path. 

HUMAN CONTACT TRACERS CONTACT AT-RISK CONTACTS OF ORIGINAL SUFFERER AND PLOT HOTSPOTS

The NHS’ army of human contact tracers will contact app users who have been in ‘significant contact’ with the original person with symptoms will be alerted through the app. They will provided with ‘health advice’ – which may include self isolation – based on the NHS’ assessment of their level of risk. Not everyone who has been in contact will be alerted based on the NHS algorithm. This advice will be constantly modified by doctors based on the current sutuation.

If a hotspot of new cases emerges, the users will be advised to take more urgent action, such as staying at home or even seeking medical attention. The NHS team of contact tracers will then individually contact everyone who has been in contact with the sufferer, either through the app or by other means.  

What are the differences between the NHS’ ‘centralised’ app and the Apple-Google ‘decentralised app’?   

The app technologies developed by Google/Apple and the NHS are based on the same principle – they keep a log of who someone has come into close contact with.

But the way they store data is the main difference. 

Britain has decided to develop an app with a ‘centralised’ system where smartphone data is sent to them – in Europe countries have gone for a less complex ‘decentralised’ system where the data is largely kept on their phones

THE NHS APP IS CENTRALISED

It keeps information of users who report symptoms and who they have been in contact with on centralised database on government servers. This lets NHS analysts access the data, analyse trends and contact people who are at risk. The data does not identify users, however privacy experts fear they could be unmasked by hackers.

THE GOOGLE/APPLE APP IS DE-CENTRALISED

It also keeps a log of the users contacts, but this information is always held within the app and is not uploaded to a government server. If a user reports symptoms, they report it to the app database. Other phones search the app database for users who have symptoms and they have been in contact with. The app alerts the government when users report symptoms but not who they have been in contact with. The alerts issued by the app or generic to all users and have no input from health officials.

What are the differences in the way each app handles data?

NHS app: Patient data and ‘contacts’ are sent to the Government’s servers

The NHSX app will create an alert every time two app users come within Bluetooth range of one another and log this in the user’s phone.

Each person will essentially build up a list of everyone they have been in ‘contact’ with. This will be anonymised so the lists will actually just be numbers or codes, not lists of names or addresses.

If someone is diagnosed with the coronavirus or reports that they have symptoms, all the app users they got close to during the time that they were considered infectious – this will vary from person to person – will receive an alert telling them they have been put at risk of COVID-19 – but it won’t name the person who was diagnosed.

NHSX insists it will delete people’s data when they get rid of the app and that data is deleted every 14 days.

If the NHS collects the data it may be able to use it as part of wider contact tracing efforts as well as being able to detect local outbreaks using location data, also also send out warnings to people in specific areas.

In future, if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, members of an army of 18,000 ‘contact tracers’ will be tasked with working out who else that patient has come into contact with and put at risk.

It is not clear how much access the human contact tracers will have to data collected through the app.

Apple/Google app: Most patient data is contained on phones

In Apple and Google’s de-centralised approach, meanwhile, the server and list element of this process is removed and the entire log is contained in someone’s phone.

That app works by exchanging a digital ‘token’ with every phone someone comes within Bluetooth range of over a fixed period.

If one person develops symptoms of the coronavirus or tests positive, they will be able to enter this information into the app.

The phone will then send out a notification to all the devices they have exchanged tokens with during the infection window, to make people aware they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The server database will not be necessary because each phone will keep an individual log of the bluetooth profiles someone has come close to. These will then be linked anonymously to people’s NHS apps and alerts can be pushed through that even after the person is out of bluetooth range.

It is understood that if someone later deletes the Google/Apple app and closes their account their data would be erased.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each app?

Advantages of the NHS centralised app: 

  • An ill user reports gives all their anonymous contacts to the NHS 
  • The NHS can use risk modelling to decide which contacts are most at risk, and then notify them 
  • The health authority can issue individually tailored health advice to contacts based on the strength of the user’s contact with someone with symptoms 
  • The NHS has anonymous data to help it understand how coronavirus is spreading 

Disadvantages of the NHS centralised app: 

  • Privacy fears of the public will be greater than with decentralised system 
  • Legal hurdles to clear data protection laws 
  • NHS’ app will not tie up with other countries’ meaning travel for Britons could be hit and people forced to go into quarantine. 

Advantages of Apple/Google de-centralised apps: 

  •  Fewer privacy fears among the public
  • No risk of legal challenge using data protection laws 
  • Backing of tech giants makes international compatibility likely 
  • Potentially higher take-up rate and simpler to use; 

Disadvantages of Apple/Google decentralised apps: 

  • People who contact a carrier get only a general warning and are not put in touch with NHS 
  • The NHS would have no contact data to help them understand how the virus is spreading 
  • The NHS cannot issue tailored alerts to people who are more or less at risk 
  • The NHS cannot analyse the contact data to identify hotspots and trends 

Could the NHS app be illegal?

Lawyers have also suggested that the NHS’ new app may breach the The Human Rights Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act 2018 – therefore making it unlawful.

Leading barrister Matthew Ryder, a QC at Matrix Chambers in London, has warned it could be illegal and suggested it is ‘inevitable’ the nationwide rollout of the app could be challenged in the High Court. 

Mr Ryder says the app needs a full Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) – a process to help identify and minimise the data protection risks of a project. A DPIA is only required for a project likely to result in a high risk to individuals. These are overseen by Britain’s data watchdog – the Information Commissioner’s Office.

He told the BBC: ‘The government needs to justify why they are going for the system that has a greater interference than the one that should do the job with less interference.

‘If Germany, the US and Italy can all do the job that we want to do with a decentralised system that Apple and Google have facilitated, which is the least interference of privacy, we need to understand why the UK thinks it can’t do the job and needs a different system. 

‘What the Information Commissioner said that we agree with is that there needs to be a data impact assessment. So that the information commissioner and everyone else can understand what the data impact assessment is and why the NHS thinks they need these extra interferences with our privacy in order to be able to do the job. This is a really important thing and we need to protect rights’.

He added: ‘It’s almost inevitable that if the Government doesn’t take the approach that the information commissioner and others are suggesting, hopefully they will, then are going to be legal implications including the possibility of a legal challenge. ‘   

Will the app drain my battery? 

Developers insist that shouldn’t empty a phone’s battery – and should only have the same impact as an Apple watch, which should only take a matter of minutes off the average battery life each day.

The app automatically searches for nearby phones that are using the same app by using Bluetooth Low Energy. This will only send information at around 200 kilobits per second. 

Whereas normal bluetooth used around three megabits per second, more than ten times as much.

What happens if someone fakes coronavirus as a prank? 

The system relies on honesty – but the NHS believes any foul play can be rooted out and set right.

The Government will be using thousands of human tracers who will contact people after they use the app to declare Covid-19 symptoms. If they continue the charade they will be asked to take a test – which will either be ignored or come back negative.

Health workers will have the means to send messages to potential contacts telling them it is a false alarm.The ploy will, however, waste time and money for the NHS as they try to identify genuine cases. 

 

HOW WILL CONTACT TRACING WORK? 

Contact tracing is seen as one of several possible remedies to help the UK out of lockdown and an app trial is now ready to go. Here’s out it will work:

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a way of tracking social networks around people so that when one of them gets diagnosed with COVID-19 the rest of them can be alerted that they might be at risk.

This is intended to stop people passing on the virus without realising they might be infectious.

The British Government is working on an army of 18,000 human contact tracers who will question COVID-19 patients, as well as the app which will log connections in the background.

Why is the trial being done on the Isle of Wight? 

The app is being trialled on the Isle of Wight because it is a small, self-contained community which is easier to control, Mr Hancock said. 

He claimed it could be tested in ‘proper scientifically-controlled conditions’ there because people cannot come and go freely – there is no bridge or tunnel between the Isle and mainland Britain.

It will be easier for officials to get a clear idea of what proportion of the population has downloaded the app, and to get tests for large parts of communities quickly.  

How will the app work?

Once installed and set up, the app will run in the background, keeping a log of everyone you pass.

Users will need to provide the first part of their postcode and give the app permission to use Bluetooth, as well as its ability to receive notifications.

Bluetooth will need to be kept on.

When a person is feeling unwell, they need to send a report, stating whether they are experiencing a high temperature and a continuous cough, and when these symptoms started. If it appears they might have the virus, the person will be told to book a test.

The information is then uploaded, along with the last 28 days of proximity events, and fed into a complex at-risk algorithm which crunches data such as distance, duration and symptoms.

It will only notify those deemed at risk to isolate for 14 days and ask them monitor their symptoms.

If the person’s results come back as negative, those who came into contact with them will be told they are able to come out of isolation.

But should the result be positive, the person will be told to self-isolate for seven days, while those who came into contact with them continue self-isolating and book a test of their own if they have slightest symptom. 

What will constitute close enough contact for someone to be warned?  

The Department of Health said a ‘complex risk algorithm’ will be used to dictate who has been in close enough contact for them to be warned. It is not clear how this is calculated.

The World Health Organization’s rule is someone is at risk if they have spent 15 minutes within six-and-a-half feet (2m), but the level of contact may change this. For example, physical contact is likely to require less exposure time than car-sharing to produce the same risk.

Will the contract tracing app be effective and when will the rest of the UK get it?

The app was first tested on staff at RAF Leeming, and air base in North Yorkshire, where trials ‘went well’. Contact tracing is really dependent on several crucial factors – though NHSX boss Matthew Gould has warned it will not be a ‘silver bullet’.

‘The app is exciting, but it’s also not a silver bullet or a standalone solution, it’s part of this wider strategy… it has to be seen as part of this strategy alongside the expansion of testing and human contact tracing,’ he said.

The app is also voluntary, so its effectiveness will rely on the amount of people actually using it.

If it proves to be usable and uptake is good in the Isle of Wight trial, it is expected to roll out to the rest of the UK in mid-May, the Department of Health said.

What if people don’t record when they develop a cough?

The app will rely on people being honest about when they think they have symptoms of the coronavirus, and what their test result is. These must be logged on the app by the user because the NHS will not link the app to patient records or even to someone’s name. People who are dishonest about their health risk putting others at risk of COVID-19.

Source: Press Association

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Lifestyle

Doctors Are Posting Nudes To Protest What They Say Is A Shortage Of Coronavirus Masks

BuzzFeed News has reporters across five continents bringing you trustworthy stories about the impact of the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

Doctors in Germany treating coronavirus patients are protesting what they say are shortages of masks, gloves, and visors by posing naked.

The group of doctors call their protest Blanke Bedenken, which roughly translates as Bare Concerns.




They hope their nudes will draw attention to what they say is a lack of available personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies like disinfectants.

They are also encouraging other doctors and health care workers to join in by submitting their own pictures.

A spokesperson for the group said the page had been live since April 22, but had received a big influx in pictures since it was covered by German newspaper Bild on Monday.

The response to the protest had been “absolutely positive” so far, the spokesperson said, adding that the German government had to not only buy more PPE but make better use of its existing supplies.

Ruben Bernau, one of the doctors taking part in the protest, said that the group was inspired by the French doctor Alain Colombié, who posted a picture of him sitting in his office naked apart from an armband with the words “cannon fodder” on it.



“This includes those with chronic diseases, acute wounds, as well as coronavirus patients.”

According to a study from an association of German health insurers cited by the Guardian, doctors in Germany are lacking more than a 100 million single-use masks.

Germany has also been praised for its response to the pandemic, with a considerably lower death rate than other countries with large numbers of cases.

More on this

  • Germany Is Treating More Than 200 Critically Ill Coronavirus Patients From Other European CountriesAlberto Nardelli · April 20, 2020
  • The Coronavirus Hit Germany And The UK Just Days Apart But The Countries Have Responded Differently.Here’s How.Alberto Nardelli · April 12, 2020
  • Matthew Champion is a deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Matthew Champion at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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World News

FTSE 100 opens flat on 5,846 points as oil prices continue to plunge

FTSE 100 opens flat on 5,846 points as oil prices continue to plunge with BP reporting £3.5bn net loss for first quarter due to global drop in demand

  • FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest companies opens flat this morning at 5,846 
  • BP posts a £3.5bn net loss in first quarter as pandemic crushes demand for oil
  • Oil prices fall on persistent concerns about oversupply and lack of storage space
  • Governments around the world are announcing easing of lockdown restrictions
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

London stock markets opened flat this morning as another decline in oil prices offset optimism about the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest companies opened today at 5,846, which is also the level it closed at yesterday.

It comes as BP said it slumped into a £3.5billion net loss in the first quarter as the pandemic crushed demand for oil.

Oil prices weakened again on persistent concerns about oversupply and a lack of storage space, with the benchmarks of US crude down 12 per cent to $11.22 (£9.01) a barrel and Brent crude falling 4 per cent to $19.20 (£15.45) per barrel.

From Italy to New Zealand, governments announced the easing of restrictions, with Spain letting children play outside for the first time since mid-March.

The FTSE 100 has been mostly rising over the past fortnight since April 16, but is flat today 

However UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that it was too early to relax the lockdown in Britain, while New York state is not expected to reopen for weeks.

Some investors are hoping the worst may be over for the world economy as more countries allow businesses to re-open, but others see reasons to remain cautious, especially as a coronavirus vaccine has yet to be developed.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a research note today: ‘We are less optimistic and expect a slower recovery in the world economy.

‘The risk of reintroducing restrictions is a risk to market participants’ optimistic outlook for a quick resumption of normal economic activity.’

All three major U.S. stock averages advanced on Monday and are all now within 20 per cent of their record closing highs reached in February.

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a board at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today

BP posted a £3.5billion net loss in the first quarter as the pandemic crushed demand for oil

The benchmark S&P 500 is on track for its best month since 1987, after trillions of stimulus dollars helped US equities claw back much of the ground lost since the coronavirus crisis brought the economy to a grinding halt.

Most Asian shares gained small ground overnight, with China rising 0.65 per cent and South Korea up 0.4 per cent – but Japan’s markets hardly changed.

The US dollar and the euro were little changed as traders refrained from taking big positions before a US Federal Reserve policy decision due tomorrow and a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.

Meanwhile London-based BP’s first quarter profits tumbled by two-thirds as the crisis hammered oil demand and its debt rose sharply amid uncertainty ahead.

BP said it expected significantly lower refining margins in the second quarter when global restrictions on movement reached their peak, throttling consumption of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

A spokesman said: ‘It is difficult to predict when current supply and demand imbalances will be resolved and what the ultimate impact of Covid-19 will be.’

It said oil and gas production faced ‘significant uncertainties’ linked to plunging oil prices and tumbling demand, as well as due to a deal between OPEC, Russia and other producers to cut global supplies of crude by about 10 per cent.

BP reported an underlying replacement cost profit, its definition of net income, of £643million, still beating the £571million forecast by analysts in a company-provided poll. The company reported a £1.9billion profit a year earlier.

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Lifestyle

Quality High Chair Covers to Protect Against Messes

Aside from the diaper changing station, your baby’s high chair most likely sees the second highest amount of messes on the regular — and the most varied. However, just like a diaper changing pad, you can protect your high chair with a cover so that messes don’t actually touch the furniture. The best high chair covers offer full coverage so that they’ll fit in just about any high chair — whether you’re at home or eating out.

There are so many adorable options when it comes to picking out the best high chair cover for your child. You’ll want to ensure that it’s extra large, so it will fit all high chairs and that it’s machine-washable so you can keep it germ free. A hassle-free installation process will be key too since it will most likely be used on different high chairs or carts. Below, we’ve rounded up the best high chair covers that are equal parts cute and functional. Plus, most serve as shopping cart covers too.

1. Croc N Frog High Chair Cover

The bigger, the better when it comes to picking out the best high chair cover. Since there’s a good chance you’ll be using this cover on multiple high chairs when you’re traveling or eating out, you won’t know the exact size, so more room ensures it’ll fit. When you’re shopping, you can take it with you from Target to Costco, so your baby can be protected and comfortable while you’re shopping at the store. Complete with built-in teether toys and a plastic-protected mobile phone pouch, you can keep them entertained.

2. Boppy High Chair Cover

If you’re looking for a more neutral and sophisticated high chair cover, this black and white option should blend in with your decor nicely. The 360-degree coverage will allow this best high chair cover to fit on just about any high chair or shopping cart while you’re out and about, making it easy to travel with your baby. The Sideline system allows you to attach toys, pacifiers, and more so you can have them at the ready in a moment’s notice. The extra padding will also ensure that baby is comfortable while sitting.

3. Suessie High Chair Cover

This machine-washable high chair cover boasts a two-in-one design so you have more options on how to use it. It’ll also help you stay organized with two small pockets and one large pocket, so you can keep things to entertain or soothe them on hand. The elastic band and velcro makes it a breeze to install on any high chair, which makes it one of the best high chairs around. The sippy cup strap will also prevent it from falling on the floor.


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