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            COVIDaware MN app investigation

starless                                    2020-11-27

        Greetings to Netizens and Minnesotans!

It's your friendly neighborhood Cyberians here with an
update on the new COVIDaware app as announced by the

You might be wondering: "Hey, how bullshit is this app?
Will it track me when I sleep, will it tell the cops
where I am for no good reason, will it take my firstborn

We were wondering these things, too. We're hard at work
finding answers to all these questions and more, and due
to the urgent nature of the pandemic, wanted to give you
an update.

Recently, the state of Minnesota released an app to help
manage COVID-19 contact tracing, The COVIDaware MN app is
based on an open source foss app for something called
'contact tracing', which helps people backtrack the
places they've been in the last two weeks, should they
later learn that they were contagious but pre-symptomatic
for COVID-19. Due to the delicate nature of this sort of
app, we reached out to the folks who wrote the open
source app that COVIDaware MN is based on, and got a
handful of helpful replies back.[1] We also reached out
to the state of Minnesota, but haven't gotten a response

The app that COVIDaware is based on is very
privacy-friendly and the company behind it seems to have
good values, but we still don't know exactly how much
that source code was customized before it was released
for use by Minnesotans.  It's likely that the state's IT
folks just added the appropriate assets to customize
links to the local health department and that sort of
thing, but we won't know that for sure without a response
to our inquiry. There's a chance they've inadvertently
done more than that, too-- we'd love to read over the
source code and check the modifications the state of
Minnesota made to the FOSS base app.

We'll let you know when we hear back from the state, but
for now, the base app looks very promising.

Additionally, should it become feasible (likely dependent
on the state of Minnesota releasing the source code for
the app), we're already hoping to be an alternative
source for the official app, should you prefer something
that's built on hardware not managed by the state of

We hope to hear back from our fair state government soon,
and until then, wish you all a warm & safe holiday season!


source code:

(c) Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International
    Cyberia Computer Club 2020-∞

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