Google, Apple release jointly developed API for Covid-19 tracing apps

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 23, 2020

Thursday, Governor Kay Ivey announced more plans for reopening the state and announced a partnership with Google and Apple to make an app to help trace coronavirus in Alabama.

The stored data will only be put to use if a new COVID-19 case is detected.

Just like Google and Apple's solution, Ugandan made contact tracing app will help people know if see if they have been exposed to the virus.

Now, both companies have released public software updates to introduce their latest project, the Exposure Notification System. Public health authorities can also adjust other factors such as transmission risk according to their preferred standards.

The US tech giants have come together during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop a platform that will enable governments and health authorities around the world to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

"What we've built is not an app - rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install", Apple and Google said.

The system is specifically created to notify users of the potential exposure they can encounter from individuals who are confirmed with the coronavirus infection, but it will still preserve the privacy of individuals while identifying their location data and information.

Apple & Google Release New Tech To Alert You If You're Exposed To COVID-19
Apple and Google Launch COVID-19 Exposure Alert Tool

Green Party TD Ossian Smyth, who acts as the party's Health Spokesperson, confirmed on Twitter that the Irish Department of Health would be using the platform.

Speaking about the Malaysian government, it is not known if Malaysia is part of the 22 countries that have requested access to the Exposure Notification technology since the country's list was not publically released by Apple and Google.

Google and Apple have implemented several measures to combat concerns that the apps would lead to a breach of privacy or security.

While use of the app is voluntary, it is estimated that it will initially be used by at least one fifth of the population.

Apple and Google have banned authorities using their technology from collecting Global Positioning System location data or requiring users to enter personal data. "Even if you have an app that tracks using iPhone data, that tracks where you've been, how many people in the public are going to be comfortable with that?"

Although 5.8 million Australians had downloaded the COVIDSafe app as of Monday, the privacy protections that Google and Apple are offering could entice more users to download the app. Google said: "User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps".

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