An introduction to the Moai app
Discover a smarter, more secure approach to contact tracing with innovative technology from Moai.
Until a vaccine is found and successfully rolled out, the most effective way to tackle the spread of COVID-19 (without economic shutdown and restrictions of free movement) is ‘infection-chain investigations’ - that is, contact tracing. But how do you monitor the spread of the virus within (or even outside) your nation? Many countries have found ways to alert citizens when it becomes clear that they have been, or may have been, in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. They are then asked to self-isolate, to slow the infection rate and keep their communities safer.
Contact tracing is challenging
However, the solutions proposed and launched so far raise many privacy and technology concerns.
There are genuine concerns about governments gathering personal information, and we’ve already seen reports of some track and trace providers selling people’s data on for profit. How can citizens be sure that the use of their data is restricted to its intended use and won’t be accessed unlawfully?
While tracking people using mobile phones has technological challenges, such as the reliance on Bluetooth, manual tracing is highly intrusive, doesn’t scale, and is unlikely to identify all contacts adequately. Automatic and manual tracing techniques must go hand in hand, and require a secure collaboration service to maximise the global impact of large-scale research, while preserving people’s privacy.
Moai provides total privacy through innovation
We have built a secure and flexible solution. Our technology, normally used in financial services, enables individual institutions to collaborate whilst keeping their respective confidential data private. We use the latest cryptography and hardware security technologies to guarantee that private data is never disclosed, as it remains encrypted even during processing. This is highly innovative, because it is easy to secure data in storage and in transit using traditional encryption techniques, but it is very hard to keep it secure while being processed by a computer programme.
An added privacy layer prevents re-identification of individuals from their anonymised data (surprisingly, as little as four location pins are enough to re-identify a person’s identity). This means that even those with legitimate access, such as government bodies, are prevented from misusing data.
Moai is secure and easy to adopt
The Moai app is compatible with NHS QR codes and can be configured to work with any other health authority’s existing systems. Unlike other for profit organisations, we will never sell the data as we don’t have access to it ourselves.
- It works on any smartphone
- It doesn’t use (unreliable and battery-draining) Bluetooth
- No personal information is ever required
- Location data is never recorded
- Anyone who scanned the same QR code as an infected person can be alerted anonymously by a health authority’s contact tracer
Moai enables vital research into COVID-19
Another benefit of the Moai approach is that researchers can efficiently investigate infection clusters while preventing mass surveillance. For example, infection cluster investigators can get in touch with patients without having to know their identity. We can use the encrypted but centralised data set to form a better understanding of how the virus spreads, including transmission mediums and exposure risks.
We believe that by improving and ensuring privacy in this way, the Moai solution will give the general population more confidence and trust to use the system without fearing that their personal data is going to be misused. With trust comes adoption, and higher levels of adoption mean we will be better able to control the spread of the virus and reduce the need for local lockdowns.
The future of Moai
We are now working on the next feature of the Moai app, which is an AI-driven service to better assess exposure risk.
The next version of the app will include a small questionnaire, which people who have been tested for COVID will be invited to participate in. They will be asked questions about known propagation factors, like the types of venues they visited, what the ventilation was like and if people were wearing masks. Our secure technology will mean that any information shared will remain completely anonymous, but will help us determine the key spreading factors of COVID-19 and what remediations can be put in place to prevent its spread.
Our goal is to enable businesses to adopt the right precautions to remain open, and better detect who should get tested, in order to reduce the financial impact of the pandemic for both businesses and health services.