Tag Archives: contact

As police get access to #trackandtrace data, the public swaps stories about #ToryLiars

A load of bull: how many people believe the childish chatter the Tories give us every day in place of facts?

Public patience with the lies of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is running out.

The latest revelation of their duplicity – that supposedly confidential information provided by people who use the Tories’ silly ‘contact tracing’ app is being passed to the police – has triggered a wave of social media posts under the hashtag #ToryLiars.

Here’s the story that triggered it:

It states that there is a legal requirement for contacts of people who’ve had a positive Covid-19 test to self-isolate for 14 days, but fewer than 11 per cent are actually doing so.

Police are being given their identity details in order to chase up enforcement.

Reasons given for breaking self-isolation include believing there was no point isolating from strangers if you cannot properly distance from those in your household; not developing symptoms; or visiting shops or a pharmacy.

Obviously the second excuse is made by idiots; we’ve already been told symptoms may develop over a period of up to 14 days, so failure to see them before the full period is over is no excuse for ending self-isolation.

But the point about not isolating from strangers if you can’t isolate from other members of your household who don’t have to self-isolate under Tory government rules is a good one. I have said before that, if symptoms develop, then the housemates may have spent many days merrily spreading the virus.

And my own knowledge of friends and family who were told to “shield” from the virus by isolating themselves while healthy is enough for me to understand why people have been forced to give up self-isolation to buy food and/or seek medication.

It isn’t a failure of intelligence because it was easy to see these problems coming and while I do believe our government ministers are stupid, I don’t believe they were not warned. I think they chose to ignore those warnings and left people to struggle – and spread the virus.

You see, a partial lockdown is as useless as no lockdown at all, when you’re trying to contain a disease.

So the Tories have created a situation where their own failure to create proper conditions for self-isolation has created a need for police enforcement that should not be there.

The public know this and resent it. Hence the charge that the Tories have lied about the app’s confidentiality.

I know some have pointed out that no information on the app itself is being shared – just registration details – but of course people hand those details over in order to use the app so it is a very flimsy excuse.

The claim that this is a lie has led to further comments on other recent Tory lies. And there have been a lot of them:

Undoubtedly the list is lengthening as I type this.

Look up the #ToryLiars hashtag on Twitter and learn something.

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After This Site suggested it, Tories are letting experts tackle Covid-19 instead of their chums

I know. It’s just a coincidence.

But isn’t it interesting that, the day after This Site asked, “Don’t you agree that giving control of the response to Coronavirus back to people who actually know what they’re doing might turn the tide?” the Tories are talking about doing just that?

I had suggested, “Let’s see the Tories reopen the contract system to multiple tenders, with assignments of Covid-related contracts going to the firms best-suited for the work. Or – indeed – to the public organisations and authorities best-placed to handle it.”

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick made the admission that this will happen on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show today (October 11): “People who know their own community… are bound to be better than Whitehall or national contact tracers.”

Here’s the clip:

There’s an obvious question to be answered here:

Yes – why weren’t they used in the first place?

The obvious answer is that individuals within the Johnson government have corruptly and opportunistically used the pandemic as a chance to funnel cash to their fellow-Tory friends. Certainly there is a movement now to find out how much money has been wasted on so-called services that haven’t worked at all:

That question of wasted time is crucial because many people have died.

What happens if we find that those deaths happened because the Tories were giving money to their friends – for nothing – rather than to people who could actually keep that death toll down?

Will there be any accountability?

Or will Boris Johnson just shrug his shoulders, say “Now is not the time,” and forget about it?

For further information, here‘s the Mirror‘s piece.

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Why can’t the ‘NHS’ Covid-19 contact tracing app register NHS test results?

I think we all know the answer to that: it isn’t an NHS app after all.

After This Site was criticised – quite harshly by some – for connecting the ‘NHS’ Covid-19 contact tracing app with Serco and suggesting that it is a data harvesting tool for private contractor Serco, and had to publish a story yesterday (September 25) providing the information on the government’s press release…

It seems I may have been right in the first place after all.

Concerns have been raised after a user discovered he could not enter details of a test he undertook that was processed at an NHS/Public Health England laboratory. It seems the app can only take details of Serco tests:

We in the general public aren’t stupid. We asked questions and we drew conclusions:

The BBC got the story wrong; the headline mentions nothing about the failure to accommodate NHS/PHE results…

… but it did tell us about a few other cock-ups:

  • People who test negative can’t share the result with the app if the test wasn’t booked through the app.
  • People who enter their symptoms but not a test result find the app puts them onto a self-isolation countdown anyway.
  • They cannot stop the countdown, even if they enter a negative test result later.

And it does mention the main issue – but buried low in the story, possibly in the hope that the mass of the general public (70 per cent of the UK public gets its news from the BBC, apparently) will not notice and will carry on along its brainwashed way.

The Department for Health and Social Care has said the app will be updated (although it hasn’t said that these problems will be resolved).

This Site ran a Twitter survey when the app was launched, asking if it would be withdrawn by the weekend. There was a low take-up but the result was decisive:

It isn’t being withdrawn but it seems clear that it should be.

The DHSC is still claiming – somewhat desperately – that “by downloading the app you are helping protect yourself and others”. But it seems clear that the app’s real purpose is entirely different:

This is what we’re finding. And as long as the government keeps lying to us about what it is doing, it is also sapping away public trust in anything Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and the other crooks are doing.

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Value for money? Serco contact tracer app cost £12,000 per person and harvests your data

CORRECTION: It seems the NHS contact tracer app wasn’t developed by Serco and won’t harvest your data. See this article for further details. I’m leaving the piece below on the site as an example of the mistakes that can happen when a prime minister lies – Boris Johnson has repeatedly claimed that the Serco test and trace business belonged to the NHS, so when an NHS contact tracer came along, we all automatically accepted that it was run by Serco, and subject to the same privacy issues as the Serco system.

The BBC is reporting that a million people have downloaded the Covid-19 contact tracing app developed by the private money-grubbers at Serco.

At the same time, we have learned that Rishi Sunak has handed over another £2 billion to Serco for its test-and-trace… work… bringing the total up to £12 billion.

So, that’s a cost of £12,000 per user (so far).

Here’s what it’s supposed to do:

NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus.
It also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot.

First, let’s get something straight. It’s being called the NHS contact tracing app. Is it really being run by the National Health Service?

Bad news, Mike…

So it’s a money pit for corporate beasts.

Is the price right? Well..

And does it do what it’s supposed to do – and nothing else?

Oh dear.

But there is a bright side:

That’s the bright side. You’ve got to really want to see it.

So! If you haven’t done it already, are you looking forward to downloading the app?

Source: NHS Covid-19 app: One million downloads of contact tracer for England and Wales – BBC News

Boris Johnson lied when he said all Covid-19 tests were carried out within 24 hours

One day soon, a Mastermind contestant will do a round on “the life and lies of Boris Johnson”.

There will be a lot of material from which to choose questions. This Writer is thinking of running a daily column. I’ve already got another piece lined up.

This case concerns the following claim, made on June 3:

“We already turn around 90% of tests within 48 hours. The tests conducted at the 199 testing centres, as well as the mobile test centres, are all done within 24 hours, and I can undertake to him now to get all tests turned around in 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that.”

The claim was – of course – untrue, as Full Fact explains:

When this was said, on 3 June, 19 per cent of tests at regional testing sites and five per cent of tests at mobile test centres were done within 24 hours.

In fact, it turns out that even by the end of June – four weeks later – the government was still failing to turn around every test within 24 hours.

Here‘s the Mirror:

NHS Test and Trace data shows that in the final week of the month only around a quarter of tests carried out at hospitals and care homes were turned around this quickly.

When it came to tests at regional drive through and mobile testing sites nine out of ten tests saw results delivered on time.

Turning around times for home testing performed even worse with just 2% of people getting results in 24 hours.

You may be wondering why the 24-hour turnaround is important. Here’s the reason:

The 24 hour target is key to allowing tracers to get hold of contacts before they start spreading the virus to others.

So one lie leads to another. When Johnson says his contact tracing projects are running at 100 per cent efficiency, you’ll already know it isn’t true.

And of course this means the Tories aren’t controlling Covid-19 – no matter what they say in their press conferences.

Source: New data reveals PM’s testing speeds claims as wrong – Full Fact

Humiliation for Hancock as Apple denies talking with Tories over contact tracing app

Matt Hancock: he has a lot of bare-faced cheek.

How did Matt Hancock think he would get away with this one?

It seems he has tried to hide the failure of the Tory government’s attempt to create a Covid-19 contact tracing app for mobile phones by saying the government was merging its app with one already created by Apple and Google.

Apple has said it is unaware of any such agreement and the government has not held any discussions with the firm.

In other words: Hancock was lying.

That’s the only logical conclusion. Right?

Apple says it did not know the UK was working on a “hybrid” version of the NHS coronavirus contact-tracing app using tech it developed with Google.

The firm took the unusual step of saying it was also unaware of an issue regarding distance-measuring, which was flagged by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in Thursday’s daily briefing.

“We’ve agreed to join forces with Google and Apple, to bring the best bits of both systems together,” Mr Hancock said.

However, Apple said: “We don’t know what they mean by this hybrid model. They haven’t spoken to us about it.”

Apple said it was “difficult to understand” the claims.

Downing Street said the government had “worked closely with Apple and Google”.

In tests carried out in the UK, there were occasions when software tools developed by Apple and Google could not differentiate between a phone in a user’s pocket 1m (3.3ft) away and a phone in a user’s hand 3m (9.8ft) away.

During the briefing, Mr Hancock said: “Measuring distance is clearly mission critical to any contact-tracing app.”

However, speaking to the Times, Apple said: “It is difficult to understand what these claims are as they haven’t spoken to us.”

It gets worse. The government doubled down on its claim, with disastrous consequences:

On Friday, the Department of Health said the NHS’s digital innovation unit had indeed discussed its ambitions with Apple.

A Downing Street spokesman said the government continued to work closely with both Apple and Google on the app, and had done so since development began.

“We’ve agreed with them to take forward our work on estimating distance through the app that we’ve developed and work to incorporate that into their app,” he said.

Apple and Google have not created an app.

It’s not irredeemable for the Tories.

Apple is a commercial firm and will undoubtedly be happy to enter a commercial agreement with the UK government to create the track-and-trace system the Tories want.

The big question is whether this new system will have the facility to download people’s private information and make it available to other commercial operators, in the way the Tories’ – failed – app did.

Source: Apple ‘not told’ about UK’s latest app plans – BBC News

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Conservative contact tracer app may be a front for covert surveillance

Is this yet another conspiracy theory? Maybe not – it seems to have the ring of truth about it.

The Tories are using the Isle of Wight to test a new contact tracing app – ostensibly to help the treatment of coronavirus, but possibly as a means of quietly watching everything users do.

Conservative governments have form with regard to covert surveillance. David Cameron’s Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 granted the government huge powers to watch your communications – albeit with safeguards demanded by MPs who were concerned about the erosion of civil liberties.

Now, concerns have been raised that the Tory app will infringe people’s civil liberties by gathering data on their movements and uploading their contact lists.

It seems Tories like Matt Hancock want everybody in the UK to download and use the app, providing the government with an enormous amount of data on their personal lives.

The demand is meeting resistance:

In the Commons, Marcus Fysh warned “widespread surveillance” was “not acceptable” in Britain, and it was essential the system was voluntary.

“We’re not a people who take well to surveillance and it’s a little ironic that the country that has probably been surveilling its population more than any other appears to have been the source of this virus,” he said, referring to China.

Amnesty International UK director Kate 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,” she said.

Tory officials insist the app is designed with privacy and security “front of mind” with the data stored on an individual’s phone until the point they contact the NHS to report symptoms and request a test.

But Tory officials also supported Hancock when he lied to us all that he had reached his target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day. He should have been forced to resign over that but he hasn’t even apologised.

On Twitter, matters seem straightforward:

Source: Trial of coronavirus contact-tracing app begins on Isle of Wight – ITV News

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Remember the Libor scandal? It seems Boris Johnson is connected to it

Boris Johnson: The more we find out about his corrupt friends, the less suitable he seems as prime minister.

Here’s an interesting snippet from Private Eye, highlighted by Beastrabban:

Private Eye in their edition for 12th-25th July 2019 carried an article revealing that two of BoJob’s donors were also responsible for Libor fiddling. The article, ‘Dough Nuts’ on page 5 ran

The latest register of MPs’ interests reveals Boris Johnson’s earnings from speaking engagements in the past six months alone came to £356,267.36. It also identifies the moneybags sponsoring his leadership bid.

One such is Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, who was co-chief executive of UBS’s investment banking division during the era of the Libor scandal. Here is what Andrew Tyrie MP, chairman of the parliamentary commission on banking standards, said in January 2013 of Wilmot-Sitwell and three of his UBS colleagues: “Since they’ve just acknowledged in front of us that they were ignorant and grossly incompetent… it strikes one they shouldn’t be on an approved persons list.” A month later, the bank was fined £940m by US and UK regulators for Libor rigging. 

Another of the new donors to the Johnson cause is IPGL Ltd, which gave £20,000 on 28 May. The majority shareholder in IPGL is former Tory party treasurer Michael Spencer, whose firm Icap (run by Spencer and owned by IPGL) was also fined for its role in Libor-rigging. Three years later, the Cabinet Office’s head of ethics blocked David Cameron’s recommendation that Spencer receive a peerage.

Johnson isn’t the only leadership candidate to benefit from Spencer’s largesse. In April he offered a member of staff at a cost of £28,980 to work for Dominic Raab. On 28 May he handed £20,000 to Michael Gove. A week later Jeremy Hunt got the same amount. One thing’s for sure: Spencer has backed the winner.

Which is just another little piece of information showing how corrupt BoJob’s business connections and sponsors are.

The scandal over LIBOR (the London InterBank Offered Rate of interest, calculated through submissions of rates by major banks across the world) broke out when it was discovered in 2012 that banks had been falsely inflating or deflating their interest rates to profit from trades, or to give the impression that they were more creditworthy than they were.

The Beastrabban piece links also to a Zelo Street article connecting Jennifer Arcuri – to whom Mr Johnson is alleged to have shown inappropriate favouritism during his time as London Mayor – with convicted LIBOR fiddler Tom Hayes.

So it seems people with connections to the LIBOR scandal added their support to Mr Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign – and we’re hearing that people who supported him are trying to rig Brexit in order to make billions of pounds from the damage “no deal” would cause (plummeting pound, skyrocketing inflation).

It seems Mr Johnson’s connection with all these alleged fiddlers is so strong that, when he retires from politics, he should probably join them in a string ensemble.

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Tories commit huge data breach with conference app | The SKWAWKBOX

Just when you thought the Conservative Party – the party currently running the UK’s government, let’s not forget – couldn’t get any more incompetent… this.

I’ll hand you over to Skwawkbox for the embarrassing details:

It was hard to imagine that the Tories could conceivably top last year’s conference disaster. Letters falling off their slogan behind Theresa May, her unstoppable coughing fit and the joke P45 – and of course, the fact that her keynote speech included lines lifted directly from the West Wing – made 2017’s event unforgettable in its incompetence.

But before this year’s drear-fest has even begun, they’ve already done ‘better’, potentially costing themselves £20 million.

A huge flaw has been discovered in the Tories’ conference app that reveals full contact details of each registered person if you simply enter their email address.

Source: Tories commit huge data breach with conference app | The SKWAWKBOX

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Major vote on controversial EU-US trade deal is postponed – why?

[Image: Touchstone blog]

[Image: Touchstone blog]

This blog reported yesterday on a European Parliament vote due to take place today, that could have removed the controversial ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement’ – the power for corporations to sue governments – from the even more controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership plan between the EU and the US.

It is proof of the obsessively secretive way that negotiations over the TTIP have been carried out that – at the time yesterday’s piece was being written – the vote had already been postponed.

According to Unite the Union’s Touchstone blog, several explanations have been put forward. The official version – to reduce the number of amendments put forward from 116 – is dubious, as in fact most were likely to be taken off the table to allow the Parliament to discuss the heart of the matter – whether the controversial ISDS mechanism should be allowed to remain part of the deal.

No new date has been set for a future vote.

If it had gone ahead today (Wednesday, June 10) then it is likely the European Parliament would have demanded wholesale changes in the negotiating mandate – originally secret – that Trade Ministers in EU member states gave to the European Commission when the TTIP negotiations started in 2013.

Touchstone is optimistic about the latest development: “Delaying the vote will only make public opposition to TTIP and ISDS clearer and more influential. And if the vote is delayed until September (as some think it might), that would deal a fatal blow to the hopes expressed by world leaders at last weekend’s G7 summit for TTIP negotiations to be all but over by the end of 2015.

“It’s very difficult now to find MEPs willing to back ISDS outright, which is one reason why the controversy has moved on to Trade Commissioner Malmstrom’s ISDS-lite proposal. But we should be celebrating the extent of the opposition to ISDS itself. Eighteen months ago, unions and other civil society groups had to force the European Commission to consult about ISDS, and that consultation was initially only about what form of ISDS to propose. Now popular opposition to ISDS has been replicated among MEPs, and the smokescreen of a ‘diet-ISDS’ is being blown away.

“Whenever the eventual vote on the Parliament’s resolution on TTIP is taken, we need to redouble our efforts to get MEPs – especially in the Conservative Party – to vote against ISDS, as well as for the exclusion of public services like health and education and a ‘positive list’ approach to protect those public services; no reduction in regulatory protections; and binding and enforceable workers’ rights.”

This blog published a link to a site that shows which UK MEPs have already indicated they will support the amendment that rejects ISDS (Amendment 27), and provides a list of undecided MEPs with links to their twitter accounts so you can tweet them. If you are concerned about TTIP/ISDS, then you should still contact your MEPs.

If you don’t know the names of your MEPs, or don’t have a Twitter account, you may be better off looking up their names and contact details on the European Parliament’s website.

Vox Political will keep you updated on any developments – just as soon as it is possible to prise them out of those in the know.

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