Covid Tracking Code In OS

Hi all. I am new to Purism and this Forum, joined today and have a phone and 14" on order.

I believe Google and Apple will soon have Covid tracking code in their operating systems (Android and iOS). My question is will PureOS have already or in the future similar feature written into OS?

I simply want to know if it will be part of the OS or not. Please note that I am not offering my opinion or feelings about it.

Thank you.


I highly doubt it (and I personally don’t want to see it). I am purposefully running old iOS so that even the API isn’t on my phone.

Would be nice to hear an official stance, though.

For a start, you would need working Bluetooth for Contact Tracing to work at all. AIUI, that means that on the laptops out-of-the-box, the answer is no Contact Tracing even if the code made it in.

On either device, you are also free to use the Hardware Kill Switch to disable Bluetooth while you are out and about. That may not suit all use cases so your mileage may vary.

Beyond that, if you want an official statement from Purism about whether they plan to incorporate any one of the open source contact tracing frameworks into PureOS, you should email

It is certainly a legitimate concern. Given the privacy focus of PureOS, a contact tracing framework definitely should not be installed out-of-the-box. If you choose to install it then of course that is your freedom. So that’s really two questions: 1. Is it in the repo at all? 2. If so, is it installed out-of-the-box?

I am not clear on whether the actual Google/Apple contact tracing framework (i.e. the actual implementation and code that will go into Android and iOS) is available as open source. There is no point running any contact tracing framework under Linux unless it is interoperable with the implementations for Android and iOS.

I would guess that, once I get my Librem 5, I could go for years without ever coming within Bluetooth range of someone else with a Librem 5.

Why could it not be the concern that the code will not make it into PureOS?

There are privacy respecting ways to make something like contact tracing work (as far as one believes that it works which I do not :wink: ).

In general I’d say it would be really nice to give people the choice whether to use something forked of off the official apps to be adapted to linux devices.

People seem to see some potential in this way to watch their risk and as long as it works as described in the link above I do not see any problem (well, even better would be an app that gives users the option to also send their beacon in case they want to take part in building the database).

I don’t know how these apps work in other countries, but even if the apps there are less privacy respecting it would be nice to offer alternatives.

Again, I do not believe in the help of that app in the light of Corona tracking, but that is just my very personal opinion.

The beauty of open source is that you can verify that it does indeed work as described.

I think one of Purism’s stated core concepts is “the power of defaults” e.g. privacy protected by default. So in my view therefore it would be quite wrong to install Contact Tracing code out-of-the-box. It should require a conscious action on the customer’s part to choose to install it.

Anyway, we digress because @JKO clearly didn’t want to start a discussion about the pros and cons of contact tracing code but rather just to understand what Purism’s position was regarding incorporating contact tracing code.

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even if it WILL at some point in the future be bundled in the default out-of-the-box PureOS experience (which i don’t believe it will) it would be highly ineffective due to the low numbers that Purism hardware is present in the market … most people have either a droid device or an iSpy counterpart …

The idea is that the system is supposed to be interoperable regardless of the hardware. It shouldn’t matter that you are using a Librem 5 and the other person is using an iPhone, assuming both devices can send and receive Bluetooth “advertisement” messages.

However, it sounds like there are a couple of significant obstacles to actually building a working free software client:

  • every country wants to have their own server, so additional work needs to be done to support each one

  • at least in Canada, the official server deliberately makes it difficult for unofficial clients to download the list of keys that tells you whether you’ve been exposed

See Alyssa Rosenzweig’s blog post on the subject:

(Perhaps Purism, as a hardware manufacturer, might be able to help persuade the various national systems to play ball - “we’re making and selling phones, and want them to be compatible with contact tracing out of the box” may be more persuasive than “I’m a hobbyist who refuses to use a ‘normal’ phone for some reason”. Even if the effect is the same for you and me.)

I didn’t see anyone in this thread mention the code is proprietary.

The Google/Apple code is proprietary. Seems unlikely you’ll see a port to Librem 5


Every country may also be collecting different additional information.

I specifically raised that question above.

In this case, the answer doesn’t worry me either way because I am not legally obliged to run a / the tracking app and I have close to zero desire to do so voluntarily.

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Dont do it. this is the nose of the camel into the tent. The ENS is a survellence platform. Its being proffered as a way to stop the spread of covid, the reality is that code can be updated to add any feature thay want, and the back-end sevrers can be updated to add more capabilities. today a “positive case” is a person who test positive for covid, tomorrow its a protester refusing a poison vax. so ??? the “contacts” are now potentially infected with a virus, next its will be person who is infected with “unacceptable views” like freedom & liberty for being “in-contact” with the infected person for long enough to have a conversation.