Privacy bill addresses COVID-19 tracking apps

Sen.Maria Cantwell chats with GeekWire Chairman Jonathan Sposato at the 2015 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo)

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is one of the sponsors of bipartisan legislation aimed at ensuring that coronavirus tracing apps protect consumer privacy.

The Exposure Notification Privacy Act relates to automated contact tracing tools that are currently being developed by companies ranging from Apple and Google to PricewaterhouseCoopers and Juniper Networks.

Such systems typically involve monitoring a user’s movements, and issuing an alert if it’s determined that the user has previously come in close contact with another user who tests positive for COVID-19. The proximity data is typically uses Bluetooth data to monitor proximity.

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How to cover coronavirus and community concerns

Social distancing during protest

Officials advise sticking to health guidelines during protests. (Public Health – Seattle & King County Graphic)

Public health officials for Seattle and King County today acknowledged the seriousness of the crisis sparked by last week’s killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other confrontations across the country — and said the continuing coronavirus pandemic is making the situation more difficult.

“We understand the difficult choices that people were faced with this past weekend,” Public Health – Seattle & King County said today in a blog posting. “Many in our community grappled with attending protests to stand up against these injustices while also wanting to keep our community safe from further spread of COVID-19.”

Officials urged residents to stick with the guidelines that they’ve been recommending for months, including the advice to wear face coverings, stay at least 6 feet away from others, and avoid large gatherings if you’re ill.

“Outdoor gatherings are lower risk than indoor gatherings,” the public health agency said in its Q&A. “The larger the gathering, and the longer you’re there, the higher the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.”

The agency said you should also “do your best to avoid situations where people are shouting or singing, as these activities can spread more virus into the air.”

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NASA’s Dragon riders capture the flag

Space station crew with flag

NASA astronaut Doug Hurley shows off the U.S. flag that was left aboard the International Space Station in 2011 by the last space shuttle crew. Hurley and Behnken, at left, will take the flag back to Earth with them aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. The space station’s current commander, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, is at right. (NASA via YouTube)

A day after arriving at the International Space Station on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken laid claim to a U.S. flag that symbolizes America’s capability to send people to orbit from U.S. soil.

The handkerchief-sized flag, sealed in a plastic envelope, has been kept aboard the space station since 2011, when NASA’s final space shuttle crew left it behind before making their departure aboard Atlantis.

It was displayed above the Harmony module’s hatch — and, for a time, stored in an equipment bag, nearly forgotten — with instructions that it was to be taken back to Earth by the next crew launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

That moment finally came on May 31, when Hurley and Behnken floated through the Harmony hatch after their launch 19 hours earlier.

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Astronauts reach space station in SpaceX capsule

SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour

A camera mounted on the International Space Station shows SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour capsule hooked up to a port on the station’s Harmony module. (NASA via YouTube)

For the first time in nearly nine years, astronauts have arrived at the International Space Station in a spaceship that was made in the USA.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was christened Endeavour soon after Saturday’s launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, hooked up with the station at 7:16 a.m. PT today.

Endeavour brought NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the station’s Harmony port, prompting space station commander Chris Cassidy to ring the naval bell that’s part of the tradition for welcoming space crews.

“Dragon arriving,” Cassidy declared.

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Trump hails SpaceX launch after seeing it firsthand

Donald Trump in VAB

President Donald Trump delivers remarks in Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building with a mockup of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule in the background. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

President Donald Trump held up America’s space effort as a unifying endeavor for a divided nation after becoming only the third sitting president to witness the launch of American astronauts in person.

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Astronauts give their capsule a storied name

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken (background) provide a tour of their Crew Dragon space taxi. (NASA via YouTube)

The two NASA astronauts who rode SpaceX’s first crew-carrying Dragon capsule to orbit today named their spacecraft, continuing a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of America’s space effort.

“I know most of you, at SpaceX especially, know it as Capsule 206,” Hurley said over a space-to-ground video link a few hours after launch. “But I think all of us thought that maybe we could do a little bit better than that. So, without further ado, we would like to welcome you aboard capsule Endeavour.”

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SpaceX sends NASA astronauts on historic trip

Falcon 9 launch

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, sending NASA astronauts into orbit in a Crew Dragon capsule. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station today, becoming the first company to send humans to orbit on a commercial spaceship.

The Falcon 9 rocket’s liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:22 p.m. ET (12:22 p.m. PT) marked a feat that Americans hadn’t been able to do since NASA retired the space shuttles in 2011: sending astronauts into orbit from a U.S. launch pad rather than relying on the Russians.

“It is absolutely our honor to be part of this huge effort to get the United States back in the launch business,” NASA astronaut Doug Hurley told SpaceX Mission Control just before liftoff.

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