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Engadget

Digital contact tracing apps in the US that use ENS tech from Google and Apple are still ‘weeks’ away


In the US Google says that 20 states and territories covering about 45 percent of the population are “exploring apps” based on the systems, and the first ones should launch “in the coming weeks.” Read More

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VentureBeat

Uber launches COVID-19 contact tracing service


(Reuters) — Uber has quietly launched a service to give public health officials quick access to data on drivers and riders presumed to have come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19, company officials told Reuters.

The service, offered free of charge, could help burnish the image of the ride-hailing giant, which recently launched a new ad campaign spotlighting its “No Mask, No Ride” policy in the United States.

Now being promoted to government health officials in all the countries where it operates, the service provides health departments with data about who used Uber’s services and when and allows health agencies to urge affected users into quarantine, the company officials said. Read More

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Tech Radar

10 games we want to see remastered with ray tracing on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC


When Nvidia included hardware-accelerated ray tracing with its Turing architecture, it kind of felt like a gimmick. Why would game developers actually program ray tracing into their games when in order for users to enable it, they’d need the latest and greatest graphics cards that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars? In fact, that’s one of the main reasons we haven’t seen many ray tracing games come out – even if titles like Metro Exodus and Control have consistently blown our minds with their fancy lighting and shadow effects.  Read More

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VentureBeat

Where the U.K. went wrong with its COVID-19 contact tracing app


(Reuters) — As Britain’s COVID-19 infections soared in the spring, the government reached for what it hoped could be a game changer — a smartphone app that could automate some of the work of human contact tracers.

The origin of the NHS COVID-19 App goes back to a meeting on March 7, when three Oxford scientists met experts at NHSX, the technical arm of the U.K.’s health service. The scientists presented an analysis that concluded manual contact tracing alone couldn’t control the epidemic. Read More

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Engadget

UK contact tracing app may warn you about areas with high infection rates


A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson didn’t comment on the specific details. Instead, they reiterated the goal of supporting the NHS Test and Trace service.

The extras would come alongside a possible new “PPE in your pocket” marketing scheme, and would underscore the challenges the UK faces. Widescale adoption of the contact tracing app may be important to preventing infection spikes that lead to further lockdowns, but there’s no guarantee a wary public will download it. Singapore has considered smart bracelets after struggling to recruit users for its app — the UK might not fare much better if residents see few immediate benefits. Read More

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Tech Radar

This ransomware poses as a Covid-19 tracing app

Security researchers at ESET have discovered a new ransomware called CryCryptor which has been posing has an official Canadian Covid-19 tracing app.

The ransomware emerged only a few days after the Canadian government announced its intention to back the development of a nation-wide, voluntary tracing app called COVID Alert that will be rolled out for testing in Ontario as soon as next month.

CryCryptor is distributed from two websites that claim it is a Covid-19 tracing app when in reality it is just a new ransomware family. Once a user installs the fake app on their smartphone, the ransomware encrypts all of the files on their device but instead of locking it, CryCryptor leaves a “readme” file with the attacker’s email in every directory alongside the encrypted files. Once all the target files have been encrypted, a notification is displayed on the device which reads “Personal files encrypted, see readme_now.txt”. Read More

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Tech Radar

Cyberpunk 2077 is going all-in with ray tracing

The upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, even with its delay, remains one of the most anticipated PC games of the year. Folks with ray tracing-compatible hardware should be getting even more excited now that we know what the game’s effects will look like.

CD Projekt Red just dropped a new official trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. And, while it does show some gameplay and drops some hints about the story, what’s especially notable is how it looks. There is pretty obviously some ray tracing happening, but Nvidia reached out to clarify just how deep the ray traced rabbit hole goes.  Read More

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VentureBeat

COVID-19 tracing apps now live in Germany, France, and Italy; U.K. rethinks its plans


With coronavirus cases on the decline in most European nations, countries have been gradually rolling out their contact tracing apps in the hopes of avoiding a second wave of cases that require extensive economic lockdowns. While the introduction of the apps has gone relatively smoothly in countries such as Germany, France, and Italy, the United Kingdom is another story.

The U.K. government announced on June 18 that it had decided to ditch the app it had been developing, which also had adopted the centralized approach. The government said it made the decision after a pilot of the app on the Isle of Wight revealed problems. It’s now targeting autumn to release its app. Read More

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The Verge

Japan rolls out Microsoft-developed COVID-19 contact tracing app


Japan’s government today released its coronavirus contact tracing app for iOS and Android. The apps rely on Apple and Google’s co-developed exposure notification platform, using Bluetooth to help determine whether users have come into close contact with others who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Though the app store listing simply reads “COVID-19 Contact App,” Japan refers to the app as COCOA, a somewhat convoluted backronym that stands for COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application. It was developed by Microsoft engineers, according to Nikkei, who were hired in May after Google and Apple’s conditions reportedly led the government to abandon the work done by a Tokyo-based team in favor of a bigger corporation. Read More

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The Verge

Gulf states using COVID-19 contact tracing apps as mass surveillance tools, report says


A new study analyzing COVID-19 contact tracing apps conducted by Amnesty International has found that Bahrain and Kuwait are using their public health apps as mass surveillance tools.

The study analyzed a collection of contact tracing apps, which are designed to inform and monitor physical contact between people in the event someone contracts COVID-19, from 11 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia, and United Arab Emirates. It found three particularly egregious apps that collected satellite location data from users, instead of relying simply on Bluetooth signals, and matched accounts with real identities. Read More