The services are based on the most popular software from WeChat to maps such as AvMap. But there is a privacy issue
There has been much talk in the past few hours of Chinese applications to locate on the map the areas with the highest risk of possible infection of the coronavirus aka Covid-19. These services are widely used now and show precisely on maps i places to avoid as much as possible as well as informing about counts cases in real time and offer numerous tips and recommendations. And the respect for privacy?
More than applications are actually services contained within popular software such as WeChat (screen up) or AliPay. All Chinese suppliers of maps is navigation (to Google Maps, so to speak) have added a virtual button to access the service. The information contained is that collected nationally by the competent bodies such as the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (Cetc). So apart from a few graphical differences, the results are homogeneous.
AvMap one of these free apps and added the animated button at home, at the top left and highlighted in red, right next to the bar to search for streets, shops or points of interest.
Once you tap, a very rich page will open with the numbers of suspected, infected, deceased and discharged cases at the national level and in the province in which you are located (it goes without saying that the activated location is always required). The latest updates are scrolled down in real time.
Four quick buttons are located at the top. From right to left there are: medical information, transport, hospitals and, precisely, the view on map. Once the in-app service is activated, a map of China dotted with orange dots will open.
By zooming, the dots will acquire shape and precise location. At maximum magnification they will change shape becoming a sticker with one written precise location how it can be an apartment building, a Hospital, a village and so on. In each of these places there is one or more infected people confirmed by the authorities. By doing so, you can avoid going to the area if you want to minimize the risk of infection.
Also Baidu Maps, the map service of the "Chinese Google" has set up a similar service, graphically even more effective with the places where the infected are shown with the virus icon and the most dangerous aggregation places (likely visited by the infected) marked with the little men icon.
The first access summarizes the situation of the neighborhood or village where you are located and each sensitive point on the map accompanied by kilometric distance and related information.
And the respect for privacy? We really move close to the border. They are not listed names n references precise to the infected people, but only theirs position. A data inevitably susceptible. The Chinese population accustomed to the collection of abundant personal data, in this case the average positive feedback, given that these apps are intended as a data at the service of the community.
Up WeChat, however, the situation changes with much more detailed and precise information that is disseminated to level local and bounced from local groups. To trace all the possible infected people, they are shared in their own right reports that rebuild all the movements of those who contracted the virus from the flight number to travel from home to daily shopping before exhibiting symptoms and starting treatment and quarantine.
Very often the participants of the group ask forprecise location of the infectedor the number of the apartment inside the large complexes where almost the entire population lives or the house in the village. We try to avoid at least this, but very often immediate trace the identity.