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Translating a Surveillance Tool into a Virus Tracker for Democracies

来源:纽约时报    2020-03-20 07:19

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        Health officials and scientists in Britain hope to soon begin testing the first smartphone app that would alert people who had come in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus.        英国的卫生官员和科学家希望尽快开始测试第一个能够向接触了冠状病毒感染者的人发出提醒的智能手机应用。
        The project is an urgent effort by the British authorities to translate a surveillance tool deployed to fight China’s outbreak into something more palatable in Western democracies. The app is being developed for use in Britain, but could be adapted for other countries, particularly those with similarly centralized health systems, officials said.        该项目是英国当局的一项紧急工作,旨在将中国为抗击疫情而部署的监控手段转换为西方民主国家能够接受的工具。官员说,正在开发中的该应用是为了在英国使用,但经过调整后也可以被其他国家采用,尤其是那些具有类似中心化医疗系统的国家。
        Unlike the smartphone-tracking system used by the Chinese government, the British project would rely entirely on voluntary participation and would bank on people sharing information out of a sense of civic duty. Such cooperation might have been unthinkable only a few weeks ago, but is expected to gain traction amid mounting deaths and economic disaster.        与中国政府使用的智能手机跟踪系统不同,英国的项目将完全凭靠人们自愿参与,指望人们出于公民义务分享信息。也许仅在几周前这种合作是不可想象的,但预计随着死亡越来越多并遭受经济灾难时,这种合作将受到关注。
        The effort would involve an official app associated with the country’s National Health System, said researchers at the University of Oxford who are working on it with the government. People would sign up for the program and would agree to share their location data for the duration of the pandemic, or as long as they kept the app. The researchers said the government could make assurances about deleting the data and would not make the movements of infected individuals fully public, as has been done in South Korea.        牛津大学的研究人员表示,这项工作将包含开发一个与该国国家卫生系统(National Health System)相关联的官方应用。人们将参加该项目,并同意在大流行期间或继续保留该应用期间共享其位置数据。研究人员说,政府可以保证删除数据,并且不会像韩国那样完全公开被感染者的活动。
        The proposal represents the latest attempt by governments to harness the power of technology to fight the coronavirus, while avoiding concerns about enabling long-term government surveillance.        各国政府在试图利用技术力量抗击冠状病毒,同时避免人们担心的长期被监控的可能性,这一方案是其中的最新尝试。
        As China grappled last month with the ravages of the coronavirus, it relied in part on a smartphone-tracking system to quarantine people who might have been near those who tested positive. That system drew criticism for sending data to Chinese law enforcement and because it was not clear to the public how the algorithm worked.        上个月,正奋力应对冠状病毒肆虐的中国,在一定程度上依赖了智能手机跟踪系统来隔离可能接触过感染者的人。该系统因向中国执法部门发送数据而受到批评,因为公众还不清楚该算法是如何工作的。
        “In Europe and the U.S. we’re not going to do this in a way that has been done in China,” said Michael Parker, a bioethics professor at the University of Oxford who is working on the project. “But there are ways of using these techniques. Just because we live in a democracy doesn’t mean we don’t care about other people and we’re not going to act responsibly.”        “在欧洲和美国,我们的方式不会像中国所做的那样,”牛津大学生物伦理学教授迈克尔·帕克(Michael Parker)表示。“但是这些技术有合理的使用方法。仅仅因为我们生活在民主国家,并不意味着我们不在乎他人,或者不采取负责任的行动。”
        In the United States, discussions between technology companies and the White House have focused on using large amounts of anonymous, aggregated location data to conduct general public health surveillance, perhaps anticipating where more serious outbreaks are likely to occur. But in Britain, where there is a centralized, trusted national health system and where data privacy protections are more robust, officials believe people would agree to assist with a technique known as contact tracing, which has been critical in combating past epidemics.        在美国,科技公司和白宫之间的讨论聚焦在使用大量匿名的、汇总的位置数据来进行大致的公共卫生监视,也许是在预测哪里会更有可能发生更多严重的疫情。但是英国拥有一个中心化的、受信任的国家卫生系统,并且数据隐私保护较为有力,官员们相信人们会同意协助所谓的接触者追踪技术,该技术在对抗以往的大流行时起到了关键作用。
        Contact tracing has traditionally been done manually, by asking patients to recall their movements and tracking down people they may have infected. But the coronavirus presents a different situation, said Christophe Fraser, an expert in infectious disease dynamics and control at Oxford’s Big Data Institute who worked on the responses to earlier epidemics, including SARS. “This virus goes a bit faster, and in particular it is transmitted before symptoms start,” so it is difficult for typical interventions to “get ahead of the curve,” said Fraser, who is also working on the British project.        在过去,接触者追踪是人工完成的,方法是让患者回忆自己的行迹并追踪可能感染的人。但是,牛津大数据研究所传染病动态和控制专家克里斯托夫·弗雷泽(Christophe Fraser)表示,冠状病毒的情况有所不同。弗雷泽致力于应对包括SARS在内的早期流行病,也参与了该英国项目。他说:“这种病毒传播得更快一些,尤其是在症状发作之前就已经传播了。”因此,典型的干预措施很容易“赶不上变化”。
        Scientists caution that an app cannot replace social distancing measures already underway around the world. Instead, it may allow some people to come out of isolation after a first wave of the coronavirus subsides.        科学家警告说,应用不能替代世界范围内已经在进行的保持社交距离的措施。然而,它可能使某些人在第一轮冠状病毒消退后走出隔离。
        The app would be different from potential tools being discussed in the United States, where technology companies have been speaking with the White House about using location data for public health surveillance, perhaps anticipating where serious outbreaks might occur. The discussions were first reported by The Washington Post.        该应用与美国正在讨论的潜在工具将有所不同,在美国,技术公司一直在与白宫讨论使用位置数据进行公共卫生监视,也许用来预测哪里会可能发生严重疫情。该讨论最早由《华盛顿邮报》报道。
        Separately, at Facebook, scientists are analyzing location data about compliance with social distancing recommendations in various countries, according to a person familiar with the analysis. The information comes from Facebook’s private vault of location data collected by the company’s apps, the person said.        除此之外,一位知情人士说,Facebook的科学家正在用位置数据分析各国人对于保持社交距离建议的遵守程度。这位知情人士说,这些信息来自Facebook公司各应用收集的位置数据的私有数据库。
        The analysis shows, for example, that visits to restaurants over the past month fell 80% in Italy and more than 70% in Spain. The decrease in the United States over the same period was 31%. One of the data scientists noted in an analysis dated March 15 that the United States, France and Britain had seen only “very modest” changes in habits, while Spain had embraced far more social distancing.        例如,分析显示意大利过去一个月的餐馆访问量下降了80%,在西班牙下降了超过70%。美国同期下降了31%。一位数据科学家在3月15日的分析中指出,在美国、法国和英国看到的习惯上的变化“非常有限”,而西班牙对于保持社交距离的接受程度要高得多。
        Google, which gathers detailed location data from millions of Americans who use Android phones and some Google apps, is evaluating how it could use anonymous, aggregated information to help public health experts understand more about population trends related to the pandemic, a spokesman said.        谷歌一位发言人说,谷歌正在从数百万美国人使用的安卓手机和一些谷歌应用中收集详细位置数据,目前正在评估能够如何使用匿名汇总信息来帮助公共卫生专家更多地了解与大流行有关的人口趋势。
        In such an effort, the same type of Google tool that shows you whether a business is crowded at a particular time could also show epidemiologists whether people were following rules about social distancing.        这样一来,可以向你展示一个门店在某个时段是否拥挤的同类型谷歌工具,也可以用来向流行病学家显示人们是否遵循了保持社交距离的规定。
        Apple uses anonymous location data for things like traffic warnings on its maps, but its system wouldn’t allow individual data, including whether someone had tested positive, to be associated with that. A spokesman said that Apple had participated in the meetings with the White House, but that the company was focused on telehealth and e-learning projects.        苹果公司使用匿名位置数据进行其地图上的交通流量警告等功能,但其系统不会允许将个人信息——包括是否有人测试呈阳性——与该功能相关联。一位发言人说,苹果公司参与了与白宫的会议,但该公司关注的是远程医疗和网络课程项目。
        The British researchers said they had spoken with major technology companies about their app, but Apple and Google declined to comment on the effort.        英国研究人员表示,他们已经与主要科技公司就其应用进行了谈话,但苹果和谷歌公司拒绝了对此事的置评请求。

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