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License: MIT

Symptomradar/Oiretutka

Symptomradar (Oiretutka in Finnish) is a service by technology company Futurice and newspaper Helsingin Sanomat to crowdsource coronavirus symptoms from the general public.

Crowdsourcing happens by asking questions in an embed that is placed on news media pages. The responses are stored without Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Results are shown in embeds and the main Oiretutka.fi page.

The project is open source with an MIT license. We encourage media outlets to collaborate within countries to create a service to map the spread of the virus. We welcome all contributors to the project.

Participation

Following major Finnish news media have participated in data collection:

You can also participate by direct link.

Results

Results of the data collection, including interactive visualizations (example on the right) and more information about the project are presented at Oiretutka.fi.

Open data

All data sets both produced and used by the service are made available to the general public on a dedicated open data site. Examples of data sets used by Oiretutka are Finnish population and geographic data.

The data is published in a way that makes them readily available for consumption by 3rd parties. For instance, here's a JSFiddle that pulls the "daily totals" data set from the open data site, and renders a line chart of the relative number of participants suspecting COVID-19 infection, using Highcharts. Feel free to create your own.

Privacy

A number of measures are taken to ensure privacy-preserving data collection, including:

  • No analytics are collected from any of the frontends
  • The analytics collection of embedding pages (e.g. news articles) can't reach into the <iframe> that hosts the data collection
  • Web fonts are self-hosted, to prevent snooping by e.g. Google Web Fonts
  • The unique ID's of participants are put through a one-way hash function (including a secret salt/pepper component) before being stored
  • Potentially personally identifiable meta-data (such as IP-addresses or HTTP headers) are never logged on the backend
  • Collected responses are never logged before obfuscation
  • Responses collected from postal code areas in Finland known to have low population are merged to neighboring larger postal code areas, to ensure individuals can't be identified that way from collected responses
  • The precision of timestamps of when responses were collected is intentionally reduced to make it harder to correlate individual answers with anything else
  • Some request meta-data is collected for abuse detection purposes, but they're not stored individually, only in aggregate; see below for more information

For more information, and related legalese, see our privacy information (currently only in Finnish).

Architecture

The diagram below depicts the major architectural components of the project, and their key technologies.

All infrastructure is defined in code with Terraform.

Contributing

If you find a problem, please open an issue or submit a fix as a pull request.

We welcome new features, but for large changes let's discuss first to make sure the changes can be accepted and integrated smoothly. Discussion should take place in issue dedicated to the new feature.

Feel free to pick an issue and start contributing. For good first issues regarding contributing, see issues labeled with open sourcing improvements.

Abuse detection

The system includes a privacy-preserving abuse detection/scoring system, which works as follows:

  • When a request comes in, we grab its source IP, its User-Agent and X-Forwarded-For, and call that its "fingerprint"
  • Immediately after, we put those values through a one-way hash function, with a secret pepper included, so it can't be reversed
  • For each such hashed fingerprint key/value pair, we upsert an item in DynamoDB, e.g. "2020-03-31T10Z/source_ip/6NehvvOtv6bGjk7FTtutfcozHqX478AVLV1EbcpmV+g=" => 3
  • This means this IP has been seen 3 times within the hour-long time bucket at 2020-03-31T10:xx:yy
  • Each key has a TTL value set up in DynamoDB, so they expire 24 hours after last being written (so the DB doesn't balloon forever)
  • We then calculate an "abuse score" for the incoming request, by simply tallying these values over the past 24 hours; e.g. { source_ip: 2, user_agent: 5, forwarded_for: -1 } means we've seen this same IP 2 times during the past 24 hours, the User-Agent 5 times, and the -1 is a special value meaning we didn't get an X-Forwarded-For value for this request (so it's pointless to score how common it's recently been)
  • This abuse score is stored along with the response
  • Later, this score can be used to assess the credibility of each response, during the data dump generation phase

Contact

To contact the team behind the project, email datadeski@hs.fi.

Security

If you find a security related issue in our service, please contact datadeski@hs.fi and cert@sanoma.fi, preferred language is English or Finnish.

Development

Prerequisites

Project requires Node.js >=12 <13 to be installed; all other dependencies come from NPM via package.json.

You will need Node and npm (npm comes with Node). We recommend using a node version manager, nvm to install Node, as it allows automatically switching between node versions across projects.

We recommend also installing direnv, which helps to automatically set environment variables as you switch directories.

Development environment setup

Clone the project from GitHub (make sure to clone it from the directory you wish to contain your project):

git clone git@github.com:futurice/symptomradar.git

Install NPM dependencies

cd symptomradar
nvm use
npm i

Environment variables

This application uses a number of environment variables to customize runtime behaviour. The following steps assume that you are using direnv.

Copy over .envrc.sample into .envrc, at the project root

cp .envrc.sample .envrc

To work with the frontend, you shouldn't need any further variable than the ones already provided. Follow the instructions inside .envrc if you need to set up a mock API endpoint.

Available NPM tasks

All available run targets can be printed with npm run. The main ones for frontend development are:

  • frontend-main-start runs the React application of Oiretutka
  • frontend-main-build creates a build for the React application
  • frontend-embed-v1-start runs the embed of Oiretutka
  • frontend-embed-v1-build creates a build for the embed

Content Security Policy (CSP) headers

Due to the use of CSP headers any inline <script> defined in the html files won't be executed in live environments (production and dev), although they would still work locally.

The restriction also applies to external script (both js and css) from a different domain.

Applied CSP rules are defined in infra/modules/main/frontend.tf

Release process

  • Ensure dev has deployed the release you're planning to put out
  • Test that basic data collection works directly and/or embedded
  • Take a peek at the dev overview dashboard on CloudWatch and make sure everything looks fine
  • Run terraform apply to ensure there's no unapplied changes
  • Release the version pin for module "env_prod" in infra/main.tf (that is, remove the ?ref=vX.Y part from the module source string)
  • Run terraform apply again, and apply any changes to prod (don't do this without knowing what you're doing, though; it's prod infrastructure!)
  • Consult the "N commits to master since this release" link in releases and write release notes
  • Create the release on GitHub
  • Check that the related action completes successfully
  • Test that basic data collection works directly and/or embedded
  • Take a peek at the prod overview dashboard on CloudWatch and make sure everything looks fine
  • Set the version pin back to infra/main.tf, pointing to the newly created release

Notes on main site development

Map embed

The map view has two router paths, root / and /map-embed. The embed is used in news articles inside an iframe. The iframe needs a height defined and the content will adapt to that height (unlike for the form embed, which uses iframeResizer library with HS and on our site, making the iframe height adapt to the content height).

The main difference with the normal version and the embed is that the embed does not have a header. There are also some style adjustments that target the embed version.

If the map view is edited, the embed version should also be tested. Locally you can check /map-embed. It's good to also test within an iframe (ask the team for a test article link). Also keep in mind that the updates will go to all news articles where the embed is already included.

Overview embed

Overview view has two router paths, /overview and /map-embed/overview. Although this view comes as an integrated part as the main site, it should be separated from the map in /map-embed. This translates to not showing any visible link in Overview that allows users to navigate to the map view while in embed. In case the article needs to show both Overview and Map, two separate iframes will be needed.

The reason for this is because Overview provides support for iframeResizer by dynamically importing iframe-resizer/js/iframeResizer.contentWindow when the view is loaded, activating auto-resizing for the iframe. Subsequently, navigating to the Map view from Overview would also trigger auto-resizing for Map, causing the view to collapse because Map does not have a fixed height and will try to adapt to its container's sizes.

Survey page

The embedded form on the survey page does not work locally, the iframe does not load the correct content there. If you want to test it, you can for example temporarily change the relative path in Survey.tsx to point in dev

src="https://dev.oiretutka.fi/embed/v1/?variant=plain"

Notes on embedded form development

As said earlier in this document, the data collection happens by asking questions in an embed that is placed on news media pages or articles.

Performance wise, it didn't seem like a good idea to develop the embedded form with a modern JS framework and have all the users who are opening the news articles download extra data, when the form can be implemented using basic HTML and very light-weight (vanilla) JavaScript and JS libraries (jQuery). The JavaScript is typed with TypeScript.

If you have worked previously with modern JS frameworks, these technologies might feel a bit old-fashioned and foreign. If you haven't used vanilla JavaScript in a while or haven't noticed you know vanilla JS, read and bookmark this cheatsheet, practice JavaScript interactively online or just browse extensive JS documentation. If your jQuery skills are rusty, or you haven't worked with jQuery before, take a look at jQuery basics.

If you haven't worked with TypeScript before, take a look at the TypeScript Handbook. Mostly TypeScript means that all function parameters and outputs have to be typed. If the basic types aren't enough, take a look at jQuery types too.

As the form is emdedded through an <iframe> element, it's a good idea to read the ultimate guide to iframes, it'll give you more context about how the media sites will use this form.

Finally:

  • When you update something, also test the form in a test article. Ask the team for the link.
  • At least on HS articles the form iframe will get the same padding as the normal article content. That is why the form doesn't have a big padding and also otherwise looks a bit weird when viewed alone in the browser, without being wrapper in an article.
  • When you run the form locally, the language selector does not work and you will only see the translation templates, not actual text. More about testing the translations below.

Form translations

To view a translated version

  • Copy the templated index file so it's ready for translation:

    mkdir -p build && cp public/index-embed-v1.html build/index.html
  • Run the translation script:

    npm run ts-node scripts/translate-frontend.ts

    That will create index.en.html and index.fi.html in the build folder.

  • Choose one of the languages and overwrite the templated index file:

    cp build/index.en.html public/index-embed-v1.html

    OR

    cp build/index.fi.html public/index-embed-v1.html
  • Start the dev server normally:

    npm run frontend-embed-v1-start

    Note that the language selector still doesn't work locally.

  • Don't commit your local changes to public/index-embed-v1.html

Form variants

There are currently two versions of the form. The default one is used in news artciles. The second version is defined with a query string parameter ?variant=plain. It is used on the main site's Survey page.

The differences to the default one are

  • Header and logo not visible
  • Start button hidden, the form is already expanded
  • Some margins adjusted with the plain class

Main site translations

Opposing to the form translation, the main site's translation is using the react-i18next library.

All translations for all languages are defined in src/frontend/main/translations.ts.

During code review, it is important to check your brower's console log while browsing through different views of the application, since react-i18next will warn you about any missing translation key at run time.

Notes on backend development

Local open data dumps

To create local dumps of the generated open data for testing, validation or other needs, you can use the provided CLI tool in src/backend/cli.ts. There is an npm script that wraps the necessary Typescript incantations, which is recommended.

The tool currently supports only the dump command which fetches and formats the open data as JSON to either stdout stream or to provided filename. Example uses:

# Print total_responses.json to stdout
npm run open-data-cli dump total_responses.json

# Use --silent to suppress npm messages and stream output to a file
npm run --silent open-data-cli dump total_responses.json > /tmp/total_responses.json

# Use --out flag to specify filename to print the data to
# Note the requirement to use '--' before options
npm run open-data-cli dump total_responses.json -- --out=/tmp/total_responses.json

MIT License

Copyright 2020 Futurice & Helsingin Sanomat

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.