Apple And Google To Develop Applications For Coronavirus Infection Tracking
Apple and Google are joining forces in a bid to develop technology where smartphones can warn users that they may potentially be exposed to coronavirus.
The rival companies are opening up their mobile operating systems so both iPhone and Android devices can run contact tracing apps.
This will work by using a mobile’s Bluetooth signals to track every other phone its user has come into close contact with as reported by The Daily Mail.
The implementation has raised concerns over potential breaches of privacy, though the tech giants insist that the data will be anonymous and that ‘privacy, transparency and consent are of utmost importance’.
If a person using the app tests positive for Covid-19, they can then upload their movements to a public database.
Other users will then be able to anonymously check their own logs against others to see if they’ve potentially been exposed to a carrier of the virus.
If there’s a match, the person will receive a message indicating when and where they might have been exposed, along with guidance as to whether they should just watch for symptoms, seek testing, or self-quarantine.
Contact tracing apps have been used in several other countries outside the US and Europe in an effort to contain the pandemic, including in Singapore and South Korea.
The Czech Republic has announced it will release its own contact tracing app, and the UK, as well as France, Germany, and Italy are all planning to develop similar technology.
Under the plans, the phone records the date, time, distance, and duration of contact between the two devices, but unlike the Find My App feature, it doesn’t use GPS data to ensure the logs remain anonymous.
The app will also periodically create new ID codes for each device to make it hard to trace any interaction back to any specific individual.