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The Aura App & Physical ERD's: Getting Things in Order

quantumsink profile image QuantumSink ・3 min read

And in the case of Albion College, maybe a bit too in order. Law and chaos are two sides of a glass coin, and trying to flip things onto either side can be a mess. It's never to say a balance is always best, surely freedoms must be found in certain places, and places where law must control things to keep the peace. Albion's "Aura" app, which tracked the locations of "COVID-Positive students" to trace who those students have made contact with, landed flat on the law. Students had to adhere strictly to the guidelines provided by the university and neglect of the app's use would result in disciplinary action.

Now, I'm not saying keeping a constant trace on students' locations is a BAD idea but...

No. No it's pretty bad.

At least, it certainly wasn't necessary. Before I start rattling off alternatives, any sort of app that puts this kind of grip on people is going to come with its backlash, and is going to need justification. And before all that, it needs to be SECURE.

Having keys, granting access to all sorts of student data, right in the source code is not my idea of "secure". In fact, why even store that much about the students to begin with? Keep in mind again that this was all mandatory as well: you're giving an app access to your student info. Because you have to.

...Just, look.

No one wants to spread a deadly disease. But no one wants to live under constant monitoring, their location always on and traceable. It's the kind of stuff you see in movies about dystopias.

Wait. Oh right. We're in one at the moment. I guess this makes sense then.

But we shouldn't have to worry about both COVID and an app, of all things. We're all human, and we all (at least, a large majority of us) care about the lives of other humans. And also ourselves. If we're going to understand who has made contact with who, there should just be a voluntary submission, maybe weekly, of who that person has made contact with in the past week. That puts a lot of faith in memory, but it's better than putting faith in pushing private data into an app. There's always middle roads to find: but landing exactly on the edge of that glass coin is near impossible. We just have to keep finding ways to balance that out.

This time around, we'll be delving into some modified versions of the COVID diagram from last time, and assessing another possible way to map an app. This will access how one would handle an app that inquires a person's risk of catching COVID-19. It's always a good thing to try to be aware, and awareness is what helps keep viruses at bay.

Conceptual
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Physical
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I'll leave off with a quote that I wish those older than preschoolers would take to heart as well:
"If you can't cure it, the only option is to keep it from spreading... Even a preschooler knows that."
--- Hiyoko Saionji from Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Sources:

  1. https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/19/coronavirus-albion-security-flaws-app/
  2. https://twitter.com/mikanswife/status/1295221447900766211?s=19

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QuantumSink

@quantumsink

I'm a Data Science major at Penn State University, looking to startup my understanding of databases.

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