Apple, Google Launch COVID-19 Contact Tracing API

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 23, 2020

Right now, the tradeoff for the states downloading these apps seems to be between efficacy and user privacy. "We're working closely with Apple and Google on the update", Trudeau said. But there's a larger, more immediate issue.

The Exposure Notification System was developed after 24 briefings and talks with app developers, scientists and public health officials and has been released to PHAs across 22 countries.

Ms Teague said the API will likely fix technology problems associated with COVIDSafe such as Bluetooth connectivity, but the Government may not be inclined to give away the control it has to contact trace.

Apple and Google stated that today their technology is in the hands of public health organizations across the globe and the companies will continue to support their battle against coronavirus.

On one level, that's smart. By partnering with Apple and Google, their app might be more effective on a technical level, but lacking when it comes to the public health goals it was created for in the first place.

COVIDSafe now asks the user to share a name, phone number, postcode and age range before they can download the app. Plus, it will only work with the consent of the users who will get the option to disable exposure notifications if they wish so. The release of this new application programming interface (API) is for public health agencies (PHAs) and the contact tracing apps they make and deploy.

Pertaining to this, most governments have been building their own contact tracing apps. "Large proportions of the population are convinced that either "Big Tech" or "Big Government" is out to steal their data or spy on them".

"It will be important to combine the eventual roll-out of the app with a public health campaign that educates the public about the tech features that guard against potential misuse of data", Kreps says. It will certainly make it much easier for apples iphone and Android phones to spot each various other, job throughout nationwide and local boundaries and take care of some of the issues that led previous applications to rapidly drain pipes a phone's battery.

One new element of this API is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus.

However, the companies clarified that some apps being developed by public health officials for contact tracing which use geological info won't be allowed since seeking geolocation information permission from users is explicitly barred from the API system. The aim is to alert users who may have been exposed to the coronavirus via a notification.

Canada will ramp up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing as it gradually lifts restrictions and is working closely with Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google on a mobile phone app to help, the prime minister said on Friday.

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