{Podcast}- Why we have to download the tracking APP & all things COVID

Recorded Live – Hong Kong Radio 3’s Morning Brew’s Phil Whelan on 5th May 2020

I’m really not sure what so many Australian’s have to hide, that make’s them so afraid of downloading the COVID tracking app.

Only 2 weeks ago we said we would do anything to shorten our hibernation, and get us back outside, but now its seems anything doesn’t include downloading the tracking app on to our mobile phones.

In this week’s segment Hong Kong radio 3’s Phil Whelan and I chat about why this may be the case, why it’s imperative more of u get on broad, the experiences of other countries and all things COVID

Listen Now – 14 minutes 21 seconds


Morning Brew 5 May 2020 COVID App

[00:00:00] Phil Whelan: [00:00:00] Off we go to what might be a bit cooler. Melbourne and Morris. Miselowski how are you?

Morris Miselowski: [00:00:05] I’m very good. No, it’s a beautiful day here too. It’s actually blue and sunny now. It was terrible this hour. Yeah. So we’re good. We’re good. It’s get better weather at least for an hour or two.

Phil Whelan: [00:00:14] Good on you. I wanted to ask you a couple of newsy type things.

Really, I mean, a lot can happen at the moment in, in the space for week. Jared, what was talking about the app that’s doing the rounds in Australia? More about the sort of. Politics behind it, or one thing he said that struck me was that this thing has to, it cannot operate in the background. And I’m thinking with the, with the ways people use their phones and Pat tablets now, especially now, that’s just not possible, is it?

Can you explain what it means as well?

Morris Miselowski: [00:00:41] Absolutely what this app does is it is an app that captures where your things are, where I’ve walked around, and specifically what it’s looking for is anyone who’s been around me for about 15 minutes or longer. If it notices that it then captures not the person’s name.

But the [00:01:00] address of the phone itself and it stores that in a database and that database is kept by you. If you should contract that you’re then asked by the health authorities to upload that database and they then contact all the people you’ve been in contact with who are likely or possibly might have that disease in order for that to work because it works by Bluetooth.

So it actually does Bluetooth, you know, bounces out, bounces back. The Bluetooth part of it has to be open all of the time, and the app has to constantly be monitoring the environment because you’re out there all the time. Even if you’re around people at home, it still needs to know.

Phil Whelan: [00:01:35] Tell me this Morris, in principle, is this a typical government job where you’ve got all the eggs but no omelet.

Morris Miselowski: [00:01:41] No, I actually think it’s a great app. It’s exactly what we need now. I don’t believe we should be allowed out of our homes on this. We have it. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ve said to people. They’ve asked that it was up to me. I wouldn’t let you out of the house unless you agree to have this app up and running on your phone.

Nothing’s going to cure it. Nothing’s going to stop it. But we know in have to try and contain [00:02:00] it till we know what we should be doing with it and the only way to allow us some freedom. And to contain it is to say, well, unfortunately, if you get it, which we may not be able to stop, we can at least stop it spreading like wildfire.

Phil Whelan: [00:02:13] How can you, how can you operate an app constantly? Not in the background. You just can’t. You need other things.

Morris Miselowski: [00:02:18] You can’t. So when it’s in the app, all of these, I mean, it’s been on my phone now for a week and a half. It literally is just an app. That sits at the front side on the front of my screen. It just has a bar up there and it says covert tracking app, and that’s it.

Phil Whelan: [00:02:31] And the Bluetooth, like your bars, and

Morris Miselowski: [00:02:34] it’s like an icon. It’s an icon. That’s all it is. It’s an icon that sits there and the only other provider is, my Bluetooth is on 24 seven normally I only turn it on if I’m using it because it drains the battery a bit. But you know what I’m willing to forego that.

They’ll. I’ll get the battery recharged up a bit more often if I have to

Phil Whelan: [00:02:53] check it out. Then what about people with the older, we’re talking, are we talking I-phones here? Are we talking the lot?

Morris Miselowski: [00:02:58] We’re talking a lot. So once I have [00:03:00] everything now, I have said that this morning and I haven’t seen a follow through on it yet.

You know, we get those people that tell you it can’t. There were apparently a whole lot of people that says it doesn’t work on their phones. They must probably has been, but I’ve not been able to find the next piece of media conversation, which is, this is the list that doesn’t work on. So as far as I know, it is available and it does work on Android.

It definitely works on Apple or iOS and it works on most of the phones that I’m aware of, but I’m sure like everything, there would be some people that would not be able to use it, but so that’s so small. If that’s the group that can’t use it, that’s fine.

Phil Whelan: [00:03:33] What about the people who have an older phone?

Remember Apple got into trouble for,their battery life.

Morris Miselowski: [00:03:39] And that’s fine. Look, if they can’t download it, that’s not, that’s for me is not a great issue unless of course they get personal discomfort in not having it, because I truthfully wouldn’t want to go out without it. But it’s more about the notion of at least let’s get as many people as possible.

We have a population of 24 and a half million Australia, not much compared to everyone else, but we’ve got about four and a half, maybe [00:04:00] trending up to 5 million people that have downloaded the app. That’s good and better than the government. Thought it would be this soon in, but it’s not enough. So let’s give all the people who don’t want to have the right not to have it, which is what they should do.

But let’s say that everybody else, now let’s get 17 18 million people onto this cause it shouldn’t be a drama, but we’re having, we’re having, we’re having trouble getting beyond this. Four or 5 million people.

Phil Whelan: [00:04:25] Let’s talk about really briefly, most cause you’re not a biologist or chemist. Talk about the bug itself.

Interestingly, the new spins, particularly coming out of China and America, but the American side of things, I heard something on the news this morning, one of them saying, uh, you guys are working on a cure. You should be working on a prevention. What’s the feeling in Australia?

Morris Miselowski: [00:04:44] In Australia, like most other places, it’s really a bob each way.

Mainly that there are researchers working on all elements of it. So there are researchers who are looking at a cure. They’re looking for a treatment methodology. They’re looking for a way to treat. So everybody’s having a go at this, which is what [00:05:00] I think is wonderful. And one of the takeaways I want us to have out of this, Phil, is the notion that we work collaboratively because we’re saying now literally.

People across the globe, regardless of corporation, regardless of background, money or whatever else coming together and working on trying to resolve this. There’s a model here that’s working because we’ve already, I would say in research terms, we’ve already traveled about 10 years, the last couple of months of what traditional one company, one person, one lab research work would be, and that’s phenomenal.

Phil Whelan: [00:05:32] There’s one variable that seems to be floating around in all of this conversation, and that is. Honesty, national honesty, some countries, uh, being accused of perhaps not coming to the party and if they had, it would help a lot.

Morris Miselowski: [00:05:46] Yes, we’re getting that here too. And we had big pushback or big conversations, I should say in the last week, but

Phil Whelan: [00:05:52] particularly has been accused of that,

Morris Miselowski: [00:05:54] of a country in the backwards and forwards and the posturing that’s going on.

I not going to buy into politics, [00:06:00] but there’s definitely been that, you know, I, it’s a worthy conversation, but it’s a worthy conversation for another day.

Phil Whelan: [00:06:06] Well, let’s, let’s, how much does honesty, how much does honesty play a part in this app? That’s what I really want to ask you.

Morris Miselowski: [00:06:11] Well, we don’t  don’t know we’re being told it is.

And it does, meaning that information it collects, is contained to you until you give permission for it to be used that the government has put up. Okay. Has put a clause in this which says it’s six months after and we don’t know what this date is, so none of this is perfect, but six months after the, after it has been said to have been chained and we turn our phones off, six months after that, the phone, the apps will automatically disappear as will all the information they’re telling us all the right things they could have done more.

But it’s not a bad start. In Singapore, for instance, when they use this similar app, similar architecture, I actually opened up the coding for it. Now what that meant was lots of people could hack it, but the those that needed convincing so the industry could actually [00:07:00] test the code and make sure the code was robust, not get in, not access it, not hack it, make sure it was robust, and they haven’t done that in Australia.

So I would have liked to have seen and just go that one step. Further and give people the surety. Are being able to test the hell out of it, but we haven’t got that. So we’ll trust the government and we’ll move forward. We’ve talked about Israel

Phil Whelan: [00:07:20] a lot, and you’re a big, big fan of their work. If you’ve got anything at all from that part of the world,

Morris Miselowski: [00:07:25] well, this, this, this happened, other apps, many of them originated out of Israel, or at least the technology underneath.

They’ve certainly taken a very, very strict approach to this. They locked everybody into their homes for quite a quite a decent amount of time, and they’re only now allowing people out of it. There are, they like every other society that I’m seeing have the good, the bad, and the ugly, meaning that some people are very much in favor and understanding and staying home.

You’ve got the elite or the strictly religious people in Israel who are refusing to believe that this is an issue and they’re going out and congregating and you’ve got everybody in between. But for me, the thing I’m following most [00:08:00] of all in there and other spaces as well is the question you asked before.

And that’s what’s happening in the labs. So what are we seeing of the labs? What are they coming up with as cures into innovations, interventions, and like many other places, cause they certainly don’t have the lead anywhere else, but I’m seeing some really good work coming out of there and some possibilities.

There’s all sorts of ways that this might be able to unfold. And. The most difficult one feel for us as a society is if we have to invent it from scratch, because if we have to advantage from scratch, it has to go through all the process of being tested. It has to then be approved. It has to be built or made and has to be distributed.

That’s going to take at least 12 to 18 months. What we’re looking for is a cure with the things that we know and have because that can be rolled out much quicker

Phil Whelan: [00:08:48] in history and in general. Are we better at cures or preventions?

Morris Miselowski: [00:08:53] I think we’re better at preventions.

Cures have taken a far longer amount of time to come up with, [00:09:00] so we’re better at interventions and maybe preventions with time. In other words, we get a disease. We have to figure out whether it was a plague or whatever else, what we can do to stop it, or to stop people being affected or to make the symptoms less, make the symptoms better than they otherwise were.

So we’re much better at that, and that’s incremental stuff. Cures invariably take a lot longer.

Phil Whelan: [00:09:21] Okay to wrap this bit up, Morris, let’s talk about people’s habits or Aussies kicking up about this thing, or are they on the whole being pretty good about it?

Morris Miselowski: [00:09:29] I’ll fill. The one thing I know is that we are in pre-release phase because people are beginning to whinge and bitch and, and I always knew that that was going to be the phase.

Know. It’s like when you take your kids who are somewhere and they’re enjoying the holiday and everything’s wonderful, but towards the end everybody gets a bit ready. We’re kind of at that ready phase where people are beginning to question, why am I here? I need to get out. When are we going to be allowed to do so?

We’re definitely beginning to hear those kinds of stories. We’re beginning to hear of people who are taking it under their own advisement to get together with other people that have a party or whatever. We’re getting those kinds of [00:10:00] stories told to us so that in the way of this is not a good thing to do.

Please don’t do it.

Phil Whelan: [00:10:05] A common denominator when we talk about things like this is personal security. I mean, I don’t think a week goes by when we don’t mention it in some way. An an interesting example. Easy one. Hong Kong identity card, really useful. They tried to do it in other countries, particularly the UK.

The guys went mad. So we have these preconceptions about these things. We have these things and we we can live, can be made very easy with them to be honest.

Morris Miselowski: [00:10:28] Yeah, look, Australia definitely, absolutely went, went ballistic. They went crazy when it was thought of. I think I’ve been followed for a while, but I think 10 years ago it came up as a really big issue and a great possibility and we went berserk against it.

You know, all, all the civil libertarians, I actually don’t see the purpose of not having it because most of us. Have a card of some sort, whether it’s a license or in our case, a Medicaid card, which our ability to access our hospitals and health care. So most of us have a card of sorts. Anyway, this is just another variation on, and [00:11:00] in today’s world, you and I talked every week for how much information is known about us in the internet.

Really, what does a bit of plastic matter

Phil Whelan: [00:11:07] the other question when it comes to things like that is we’re assuming that somebody somewhere gives a hoot about us.

Morris Miselowski: [00:11:13] Oh, absolutely. And then you’re not how much, I love that comment, which is the thing I’ve used most often. When people have told me in the last 10 days or so, not downloading this app, I’ve often been very  actually.

Not all that interesting. Nobody wants to know where you’ve been. So it’s not about somebody sitting there and getting their jollies by tracking where Morris has been on a Tuesday afternoon, I’m hoping it really is just used for its benign purpose, which is if I do contract it, that the people I’ve been in contact with can be given as much information as quickly as possible about my contracting.

Phil Whelan: [00:11:47] Is it fair to say that. If you were being tracked for some reason, it wouldn’t be Morris, you’d just be a statistic or a digit.

Morris Miselowski: [00:11:54] Yes. So in this case, absolutely. So in this case you are, you don’t have anything except for you, your address of your [00:12:00] phone. What the intent is, is that it will, that it will find your mobile.

So it’s not going to find Morris. It will not find the number. It’ll actually find the address or the Mac address that the phone has, which translates into a number, which hopefully somebody will ring and if not, they’ll message. So the intent is to come back to you through your mobile phone. That again was the Bluetooth connection that you had with the person who you’re walking by.

Phil Whelan: [00:12:21] It’s interesting this, because I think a lot of people would agree that the one major floor, certainly I only use iPhone, I have never used the others, but the one major floor of that is it would be a nightmare. It would be useless and emergency because of all the auto-corrects and this, that and the other.

It would just be, you die.

Morris Miselowski: [00:12:38] Well, you will if you have to use it, but this app, again, it doesn’t do any of that.

Phil Whelan: [00:12:41] Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. But they put it on there, but the machine itself in an emergency is a dismal failure.

Morris Miselowski: [00:12:47] Well, if he isn’t, it’s not meant for. It’s not meant for that kind of emergency. It really is meant for.

And after that, after you’ve been diagnosed, you would then use it to put up, look, there are all sorts of things that they’re, that they’re attaching, not this app, but there are other [00:13:00] apps around which are commercially available that supposedly can tell if you have Corona or diseases or other things around you.

All sorts of people are postulating and all kinds of apps are being sold. I’m not sure how reasonable they are. In fact, I would guess they’re not reasonable. Otherwise we would all be having them.

Phil Whelan: [00:13:15] Well, most, you are always the voice of reason and you’re the only person I’ve ever heard down the line and say, no, I think it’s a good idea.

Let’s use it.

Morris Miselowski: [00:13:22] Yeah, it is. For this case, it is. I’m definitely, this is not a blanket recommendation for every app in this app in this instance. So what do we have to lose? We’ve tried everything else.

Phil Whelan: [00:13:31] Yeah, you’ve got it. Most. You want to invite our listeners to a webinar.

Morris Miselowski: [00:13:34] Yeah, I do. So I have a weekly webinar, which is normally on a Monday, but of course, today’s another Monday to Tuesday, because last night we were delayed.

Tonight’s webinar is on the future of jobs, and we have Mr Bassett, who is the CEO of seek.com one of the world’s largest online employment agencies. He’s going to come on and talk to us for an hour about the jobs that are likely to come out of covert. And the ways that we can apply for jobs a.

[00:14:00] Talk about CV’s and interviews and generally we have a chat around what the future of jobs are. It’s absolutely free. It’s 6:00 PM your time and I’ve put the link on Facebook live into the notes for you.

Phil Whelan: [00:14:14] Thank you, Morris. Best of luck with that. Fascinating. I’ll catch up with you next week.

Morris Miselowski: [00:14:18] look forward to it. Have a good week everyone.

You too.

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