I wrote earlier about the increasing amount of Covid-19-related marketing and public relations pitches that bloat my inbox, and can report that it's getting worse and not better.
Some of the Covid-19 updates are useful in the sense that they remind me of different organisations that have or I've given my contact details to.
It means I can unsubscribe from their mailing lists and/or delete my accounts, but it's hard to keep up.
• Juha Saarinen: Online government services and grocery shopping must be robust during pandemics
• Juha Saarinen: How techies can help in the coronavirus pandemic
• Juha Saarinen: Not going to work in viral times
In the midst of the email flood there are messages about brilliant people, companies and organisations working hard to come up with better technology for overcoming the many difficult aspects of the pandemic.
On the one hand, it feels extremely encouraging that what appear to be very clever researchers and lots of resources are thrown into finding new and innovative ways to test for Covid-19 faster and on a very large scale.
There's a worsening shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare and other essential workers. It seems said PPE can be sourced in large numbers from China and a startup sent some really interesting information about their supply chain solution to get the gear shipped over to governments that desperately need it.
That's the "on the other hand issue": the technology and equipment isn't just desperately needed, it has to work and must be accurate and reliable. It must arrive too so as not to lose valuable time with reordering and shipping.
There's so much of the above happening at the moment that a socially distanced acquaintance joked I could focus on "meditech" full-time and have material for years to come.
That's true, but medtech stories kind of start out with "looks promising, and is going into testing" and then a year or more after reach the stage where the test results are in. That's how it has to be unfortunately, and it's even harder to be patient in these difficult times.
Without the extensive testing, you risk putting people's hopes up and maybe even their lives at risk if the product or service doesn't deliver.
Then there's Covid-19 technology that's easy to see that it'll be useful in the pandemic, but which has potential to be abused in some pretty scary ways.
The United Kingdom Government has asked, by law, that telcos in the country provide it with location data for people's phones. That information will be used to map how Covid-19 spreads in the population. In turn, the data can be used to build models to predict how and where the virus moves next, which will no doubt be a great public health tool.
Similar ideas are being floated in the United States, and location tracking via smart phones is being implemented in Israel. In the latter country, Israel's internal intelligence agency will gather the user location data from telcos and share it with healthcare authorities.
Infected patients who have tested positive may be monitored by the Israeli authorities to ensure they stay in quarantine. Others who come into contact with Covid-19-positive individuals can be ordered to self-isolate via text messages. Which, if true, sounds extremely risky as text messages are easily faked.
On the whole, Israel's approach to using location tracking this way sounds like a privacy catastrophe in waiting.
Somewhat surpringly perhaps, Singapore's Government appears be taking a more sensible route using personal tech in the battle against Covid-19.
Singapore is ahead of most countries in its Covid-19 response and has released its BlueTrace community-driven contact tracing app that uses the Bluetooth wireless protocol as open source already, for everyone to use for free.
We'll see how it pans out in real life, but BlueTrace promises to preserve privacy, as it allows for collection of proximity data between devices to be done in a decentralised fashion, peer-to-peer, and not being sent to central servers somewhere.
BlueTrace is also said to respect national sovereignty between countries and public health authorities in them; I hope it is correct, because if you think about it, that is exactly how the app and others like it should work.
People must be able to trust the apps fully, and use them in emergencies without being worried that their data is collected by unknown agencies or commercial third parties like insurers.
If the contact tracing apps can't be trusted, people won't use them. If that happens, they are no longer effective during Covid-19 and future pandemics and emergencies. Here's hoping that that particular thought is firmly lodged in the minds of the developer geeks doing the good work for developing the apps, and within the governments intending to use them.