Coronavirus: Apple and Google to partner for contact tracing technology

Joanna Estrada
April 15, 2020

Apple and Google announced a joint initiative to track and slow the spread of COVID-19 via contact tracing on Android devices and iPhones.

The system will also alert people who download them to whether they were in close contact with an infected person.

Tech giants Apple and Google say they will join forces to develop an app for tracking coronavirus infections using existing Bluetooth and encryption technology.

It would send anonymous data to public health authorities, however, users must opt-in to the program.

Competitors Apple and Google will help people find smittekæder with the new tool.

Apple mentioned each corporations will launch developer instruments (referred to as APIs) in May that can "enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities".

Apple and Google stressed on Friday that their system preserves users' privacy.

A list of people you have had contact with will be created, which never leaves your phone. "We're going to take a look at that, a very strong look at that", U.S. President Donald Trump said at a press briefing when asked about Apple and Google's efforts.

Apple and Android combined essentially power the world's smartphones, so working together would be required to effectively trace coronavirus contacts based on mobility data, according to analysts.

What about privacy? Both Apple and Google insist that privacy and security is central and most important aspect of this COVID-19 tracing system.

It is worth noting that this method is "opt-in" tracking, which means that users must agree to accept tracking if they participate. It would allow people who are known to have been exposed to the virus to quarantine or isolate themselves, while letting others resume normal activities.

The companies believe that since Bluetooth is now an essential technology for individual device users, more people would be encouraged to use it.

Security experts also note that technology alone can not effectively track down and identify people who may have been infected by COVID-19 carriers.

However, Apple and Google plan to release software updates in the coming months so that users do not need a separate app to log nearby phones.

How you'll be notified in the event you met someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

As part of their partnership, the companies are releasing draft technical documentation and have stated that will openly publish information about their work for others to analyze.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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