Apple and Google combine to build complex coronavirus tracking system

Joanna Estrada
April 16, 2020

Considering how fast COVID-19 can be transmitted, performing contact tracing without any tech assistance is futile and won't work, especially during the peak of the outbreak. According to a research scientist of the Massachusetts Institution of Technology who is now working with over 30 government as well as health agencies on contact tracing Mr. Francesco Benedetti, the smartphone system could even effectively replace the lengthy "manual" tracing which is now done by interviews handled by medical staff.

Will it work on my version of iOS and Android? Users would get access to vital health advice to help stop the virus spread and stay healthy, in addition to a snapshot of present official status within Australia.

Around the world, governments are turning to touch-tracing apps as a tool to help organizations and businesses re-open after coronavirus lockdowns. Many top public health specialists, universities, as well as NGOs have been working on this front on a global scale to create opt-in contact tracing technology.

The Digital Transformation Agency would likely be tasked with building the app and working with private developers.

In a nutshell, the proposed contact tracing tech will use Bluetooth to track a person's location and who they've been in contact with. But representatives from each company insist they won't allow the technology to come up as mandatory. As such, The Verge reports that these companies (in China, or Huawei) will have the option to replicate the tracking system being developed by Google and Apple, with Google to publish the framework. With the latest update, mobile apps can track other phones nearby through Bluetooth signals.

That will allow any other smartphone user you've come in contact with to be advised that they have been in contact with a positive case.

As an example, Apple said that a person who tests positive for COVID-19 could receive a QR code with their test results and then scan that QR code within the contact tracing system for confirmation purposes, but the exact implementation remains to be seen.

The identity of the individual that tested positive would never be disclosed to the groups or to other users. If you use the app and anyone you've encountered later tests positive for coronavirus, your phone will alert you of that fact.

The agencies have drawn a line in the sand in one area. Governments will not be able to require their citizens to install a touch-tracing software program constructed with these APIs. In essence, customers will opt-in to the gadget, senior representatives stated on Monday, Apr.14.

Apple and Google said that they may close down the system per region when the pandemic slows down. This means if users want to take part in the system, they would have to download a specific app designed by their local health authority.

Normally Apple's iOS operating system and Google's Android are two very separate cases, working against each other to beat each other with new features created to entice buyers of the latest smartphones.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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