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Tracking your location and targeted texts: how sharing your data could help in New Zealand's level 4 lockdown

New Zealand and much of the world is now under an unprecedented lockdown. Public health experts say this is the best way to suppress the spread of the virus. But how long will such a lockdown be socially sustainable?

Originally published in The Conversation.

MyGov's ill-timed meltdown could have been avoided with 'elastic computing'


These past few weeks have shown the brittleness of Australia’s online systems. It’s not surprising the federal government’s traditionally slow-moving IT systems are buckling under the pressure.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Privacy vs pandemic: government tracking of mobile phones could be a potent weapon against COVID-19

Borders, beaches, pubs and churches are closed, large events are cancelled, and travellers are subject to 14 days’ isolation – all at significant cost to taxpayers and the economy. But could telecommunications technology offer a more targeted approach to controlling the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus?

One possibility is to use location history data from the mobile phones of confirmed cases, to help track and trace the spread of infection.

Originally published in The Conversation.

We know how long coronavirus survives on surfaces. Here's what it means for handling money, food and more

Manuel Bruque/EPA

Like the other 200 or so respiratory viruses we know of, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the new coronavirus

Originally published in The Conversation.

Want to make social distancing even more effective? It's about time (as well as space)

While the world waits for an effective vaccine against COVID-19, we are relying heavily on social distancing – perhaps better termed “physical distancing” – to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Coronavirus might cause loss of smell, or anosmia. But it probably won't be permanent

Reports from South Korea, China and Italy say losing the sense of smell and taste may be a symptom of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Specialists in the UK have suggested the loss of smell, also called anosmia, could even be an early indication of infection.

Originally published in The Conversation.

'Like a key to a lock': how seeing the molecular machinery of the coronavirus will help scientists design a treatment

National Institutes of Health

In the race to develop a treatment for COVID-19, the disease threatening millions of lives around the world, scientists are studying every aspect of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes it.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Uncertain? Many questions but no clear answers? Welcome to the mind of a scientist

Watching the world adjust to the horrific new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, has led me to contemplate a much more important lesson we might be learning together as we face this crisis.

We’ve all been ripped out of our comfort zones, with so much of the familiar rhythm of daily life suddenly replaced by a pervasive, visceral uncertainty.

So many questions without answers. So many experts with differing views. A brutal realisation that things don’t work the way we always thought. Seeing infinite shades of grey instead of that comforting black and white world.

Originally published in The Conversation.

'Click for urgent coronavirus update': how working from home may be exposing us to cybercrime

Apart from the obvious health and economic impacts, the coronavirus also presents a major opportunity for cybercriminals.

Originally published in The Conversation.