People all around the world are worried about Coronavirus, especially due to the way it spreads. It is almost impossible to tell whether a person is a carrier of the virus. We could be standing next to a carrier and we would not know that we are being infected. For this exact reason, the Israeli Ministry of Health has created and succinctly released a mobile application called, ‘The Shield.’ The basic purpose of The Shield is to warn its’ users about whether a particular location has or has not been visited by a Corona patient while the user is in the same vicinity.
To answer the age-old question of Android and IOS, this application is available on both. It works with the help of a GPS which is built-in on every mobile or electronic device and SSID (WI-FI Network). And there is no need to worry about the exploitation of personal information as the data is saved on the mobile device itself and is certainly not transferred to any government agency that might want to use it for nefarious purposes.
How Does It Work?
The inner workings of this wonderful application are easy. The Ministry of Health, when encountered with a new Coronavirus patient, will interview them about all the locations and places they visited before coming there. Once the patient has told this information, it is added onto a JSON file and this file is hourly downloaded onto the app. So, every hour new locations of possible Coronavirus threats are added onto the app without fail.
While a user is using the app, the software of The Shield will analyze the surroundings and compare it with the JSON file data. If the location of a Coronavirus patient is pinged, then the app will send an alert to tell the user that a match has been found and they are at risk of exposure to COVID-19. On the same hand, if the location is safe, the app will alert you then as well to give you an ‘All Clear’ sign.
The users must bear in mind that there can be false positives in the JSON file as humans are inherently fallible. Doctors are urged to correct these false positives if they are found. And although this app is a good way of finding safety from the virus it is best to practice social isolation and social distancing.
Privacy Measures On The App
There have been some concerns regarding the security and privacy setting of this application. To counteract this concern the Ministry of Health has released the source code of the app under an MIT license so that other countries in need might also use it.
A security sweep was also conducted by Profero, and their CEO Moyal has assured the people that the private data from the app is not under any danger. The information of the user is only used if the user specifically volunteers it.