The Inside Story of How Apple and Google Worked on Contact Tracing

CNBC has a report today on how a small team at Apple started developing ideas on how to help with the pandemic. It was codenamed Project Bubble.

In mid-March, with Covid-19 spreading to almost every country in the world, a small team at Apple started brainstorming how they could help […] Within a few weeks, the Apple project — code-named “Bubble” — had dozens of employees working on it with executive-level support from two sponsors: Craig Federighi, a senior vice president of software engineering, and Jeff Williams, the company’s chief operating officer and de-facto head of healthcare.

It’s a fascinating read.

UK Government Memo Discussed De-Anonymizing Contact Tracing App Users

On today’s episode of Daily Observations, we explained what contact tracing is. Now that I understand the technology, I’m okay with it at this early stage. But of course there are still privacy implications, this being one of them. The UK is planning to build an app that works with contact tracing, but a leaked memo shows a discussion about de-anonymizing users.

However, the memo stated that “more controversially” the app could use device IDs, which are unique to all smartphones, “to enable de-anonymisation if ministers judge that to be proportionate at some stage”. It did not say why ministers might want to identify app users, or under what circumstances doing so would be proportionate.

EyeQue Launches Vision Monitoring Kit

Today EyeQue has launched a vision monitoring kit that includes the EyeQue VisionCheck, PDCheck, and the new EyeQue Insight Plus.

The EyeQue Vision Monitoring Kit is available now on Indiegogo, with pledge levels starting at $119 (retail value: $205). The product is slated to ship to backers by the end of November 2019, in time for the holidays (limited quantities). Learn more about EyeQue at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for more updates.

Planned Parenthood's App Comes to All 50 States This Year

Planned Parenthood Direct is an app that lets you order birth control and get UTI treatment from your phone. It will roll out to all 50 states by the end of 2019.

For either birth control prescriptions or UTI treatment, you’ll need to fill out some personal and medical information, then wait up to one business day for a clinician to decide whether your case is straightforward enough that they can write your prescription. In some states, you’ll need to do a video chat. And depending on the provider’s decision, your request may be turned down and you’ll need to see somebody in person.