Aid Squad Web Service

Keep hanging on.

AidSquad has been rolling for more than three weeks now. During this time people have altruistically shared hundreds of Personal Health Records (PHRs) with the network. Thanks to AidSquad’s reward program, these PHRs contribute with a token incentive for the selected causes. Since its launch, this reward system has already emitted more than eight thousand AIDTKN at the time of writing this article. These rewards are subject to people submitting their PHRs, which clearly shows that people are willing to share this information to benefit others. Great work!

In previous posts, we wrote about the AidSquad platform and the transparency portal. These two project components talk about submitted data and rewards. In the latter days, we noticed the need for a place to gather all the information about the project: the AidSquad platform portal.

This web concisely explains the platform and refers to resources and media coverage for more information. It also distributes the Android application APK. Moreover, it provides the option to submit PHRs directly.

But, why do we provide the APK itself and a web application to submit PHRs? Why not include it in an application marketplace such as Google Play or Huawei App Gallery?

During the last weeks, we have sent different Android versions of the AidSquad app to Google Play. In the beginning, the application was rejected due to the inclusion of COVID-19 information. It was rejected due to its “Sensitive Events” policy. We decided to pivot AidSquad and made it not targeted to COVID-19 only, but to generalize it to any other discomfort or disease that is worth tracking where it happens, such as influenza, allergies or food intoxications. But it was again rejected because this app is not provided by an official party.

We are aware that, since the beginning of this pandemic, many people have tried to take advantage of this emergency scenario in order to obtain some unethical benefits from users, such as economic revenue from advertisement, offering premium COVID-19 tracking service and so on[1,2]. Application marketplaces must maintain user trust, so we understand their decision of rejecting any app that does not come from official parties due to developers wanting to publish apps with these wrong goals in mind.

AidSquad platform, in opposition to them, is not aimed at making any economic benefit. In fact, we consider that this health crisis has brought to light an information crisis that directly affects our right to information access. AidSquad comes to fulfill this scenario relying on people that are willing to publish their anonymized health data. Data crowdsourcing by all of us for the benefit of all of us.

These reasons lead us to publish this website from which any user can share his/her PHR. Therefore, AidSquad is now not only limited to people who use Android phones. We made efforts to reach more people and increase the platform’s reach, removing version barriers, such as mobile operating systems. The requirements to participate in AidSquad have now been reduced to have an internet connection and a JavaScript-enabled browser. Currently, we have only tested it on Google Chrome.

Users that participate in the platform, either using the Android app or the web form, can share information. The main difference is that users using the Android app can receive karma points, which is a way to quantify how much data has been shared by the user. These karma points will be used to achieve some badges that will be available in the future.

It is worth to mention that the web form to submit the data does not rely on a backend to perform verifications: everything is computed on the client-side. This means that the good practices that we encourage to participate in the protocol, such as user location or time between submissions are just encouraged, but we cannot enforce them. Moreover, anybody could implement an application to participate in AidSquad, or grab the JS of the web form and adapt it to their own website, since we do not perform any identification or validation on where the data comes from.

It is necessary to highlight that the aim of AidSquad is to have a commonplace to altruistically share data taking advantage of distributed ledger technologies. So, all stored data is publicly accessible and immutable. However, we have to recall that this platform is just limited to mirror the data sent by people, so its validity depends on the veracity of the input data.

In these days, data is again being proved to be a valuable resource to make decisions. AidSquad enables the community to provide this data to the public. So, more people using AidSquad means having a better picture of what is happening out there. Why not contribute yourself to this greater goal? Why not encourage you to contact the network to participate in this collective challenge?

“If you want to change the world, be that change” Mahatma Gandhi.

Stay tuned for more updates of AidSquad from GeoDB