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Surveillance: Germany To Work With Apple And Google On ‘Contact Tracing’

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After tensions escalated last week between Germany and Silicon Valley over the type of technology used to trace coronavirus infections, the European nation changed its decision Sunday, choosing to go with “an approach supported by Apple and Google along with a growing number of other European countries,” according to a Reuters report.

Germany is just one of the European Union (E.U.) nations attempting to develop apps to “contact trace” coronavirus patients in an effort to combat the spread of the virus.

Chancellery Minister Helge Braun and Health Minister Jens Spahn issued a joint statement Sunday indicating that they would adopt a “decentralized” approach to digital contact tracing, which would no longer allow health authorities to take control over tracing the data that is collected.

“This app should be voluntary, meet data protection standards and guarantee a high level of IT security,” they stated. “The main epidemiological goal is to recognize and break chains of infection as soon as possible.”

Bluetooth-based smartphone contact tracing allows for the determination of the proximity and length of contact between people. Then, if a person tests positive for COVID-19, their recent contacts would be told to call a doctor, get tested, and/or self-isolate.

According to the Reuters report, “Apple and Alphabet’s Google, whose operating systems run 99% of smartphones, have promised tweaks in May that would accommodate the decentralized approach. A trial version is due out next week.”

Meanwhile, an open letter signed by hundreds of scientists that was published last Monday warned that if contact tracing data were to be centralized, it would allow “unprecedented surveillance of society at large.”

Germany is the most populous nation in the E.U. with more than 83 million residents. There are currently 158,758 people infected with the novel coronavirus in Germany and 6,126 people have died.

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International

Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind

As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

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On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.

The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”

Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.

As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.

American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”

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