Facebook tracking for cell

As McDonald notes, nothing has changed. It's worth taking a minute to look at yours and make sure Facebook is gathering only the information you want it to have. Here's How.

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Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post. The opinions expressed here by Inc. Israel is thought to be doing something similar by using residents' cellphone data to track the disease.

Facebook is already working on providing anonymized and aggregated data on people's movements for researchers and nonprofits. It populates maps with the aid of users who have given the company permission to collect their location - harnessed via their smartphones. The locations are aggregated and anonymized by Facebook to calculate the likelihood people in one city or town are likely to visit another area and potentially spreading the outbreak. The use of smartphone data to track the spread of COVID could actually do more harm than good due to the nature of the transmission of the virus.

An app or smartphone usage data may only give a very crude picture of the spread. A phone only determines positions to between 22ft and 42ft in urban built up areas and may actually be much less precise than that. The issue is that COVID appears to spread between two people who are within just a few feet of each other.

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A commuter wears a mask and gloves whilst walking across London Bridge into the City of London during the morning rush hour. The US government says it hasn't started actively promoting the development of tracking software. Fry says it is still worth trying even with the limitations. She told Wired 'The data is there, and it could make a big positive difference if they could get it to work. Smartphones regularly share their location to wireless carriers and tech companies - where permission has been granted by the user. This is to deliver wether reports, hail rides and even help people find the location of the nearest coffee shop.

There are wider privacy concerns, although Facebook and Google stressed any data would be anonymous and so would not identify individuals.

Technology can save lives, but if the implementation unreasonably threatens privacy, more lives may be at risk. The Washington Post reports that the government is not seeking to collect and maintain a database on people's whereabouts, rather just information to spot trends. What is the coronavirus? A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people.

Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body's normal functions.


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Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word 'corona', which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown. The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2. Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a 'sister' of the SARS illness which hit China in , so has been named after it. The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID, which stands for coronavirus disease Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: 'Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.

Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease Severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS coronaviruses. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known. The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition.

Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge. The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1, people had become infected, possibly up to 7, Where does the virus come from? According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals — the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

Google, Facebook could help US track spread of coronavirus with phone location data

The first cases of COVID came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation. Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human.


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  • It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was. Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: 'The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China. So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

    It is similar to SARS, which infected 8, people and killed nearly in an outbreak in Asia in , in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans' lungs.

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    Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they've never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold. Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: 'Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

    Here we're talking about a virus where we don't understand fully the severity spectrum but it's possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent. If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every patients who get it will die. But that's the current circumstance we're in. How does the virus spread? The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms. It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky.

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    It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces. Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms? Once someone has caught the COVID virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms — but they may still be contagious during this time.

    If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever high temperature. The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all. In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid.

    It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people. Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.

    This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause. Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much — changing is known as mutating — much during the early stages of its spread. However, the director-general of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

    This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it. More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.