Apple and Google Join Hand on Coronavirus Contact Tracing Technology

Ruben Fields
May 23, 2020

The solution will be implemented in two steps - first will be in May where both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices with the help of apps from public health authorities.

Speaking on Thursday the EC's digital chief Thierry Breton stated their use should be temporary, voluntary and based on anonymised data, adding "Strong privacy safeguards are a prerequisite for the uptake of these apps and therefore their usefulness".

Google confirmed that a COVID-19 Tracker is now available on Android phones and other mobile devices via Google Play.

As the world continues to combat a global threat, also known as COVID-19, the business has seen both negative and positive impacts.

Speaking on Thursday, the European Commission also stated that because the apps are not now being used for contact tracing, the use of location data should be avoided.

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal recently released a statement mentioning Google and Apple would have to convince the public that their contact tracing technology which will keep a track on people should not lead to a violation of their privacy, reports Reuters.

GDPR was cited as the cause for a delay in food boxes reaching 1.5 million vulnerable people in the United Kingdom now isolating from COVID-19 due to the regulation preventing the mass sharing of information such as people's names, addresses, and/or emails.

The benefit of using Google Play Services to update Android users with the latest information about Covid-19 tracing is that it means updates can be pushed to all handsets running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above. And it is a contribution that every software developers around the world are making. "Apple and Google have a lot of work to do to convince a rightfully skeptical public that they are fully serious about the privacy and security of their contact tracing efforts", said Blumenthal. Google is prohibited from releasing the software to Huawei which means that the contact tracing system can not be applied.

The strategy provided by Google to address these restrictions was launched past year to provide more recent versions of Android.

Google refused to provide any comment regarding the system and clarified that they are still unsure whether to offer the code audits to the companies that are restricted from the system but want to develop the same update.

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