Apple and Google launch COVID-19 exposure notification tech

Date:21 May 2020 Author: Leila Stein

Apple and Google have launched their COVID-19 exposure notification technology.

The system builds on the concept of contact tracing, one of the effective tools used in the fight against the spread of the virus.

In addition to helping governments expand their contact tracing abilities, the new Apple and Google tool also allows for Exposure Notifications. These will alert someone if they may have been exposed to the virus.

The tech is not an app itself but rather a tool that governments and health authorities can build into apps that will be available on Android and iOS.

“Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person,” said the companies in the a joint statement.

While some may be concerned about the privacy breaches possible through such a system, the companies insisted that these systems are voluntary and citizens can choose whether to opt-in to their regions app.

“Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app,” they 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.”

The companies said this tool has already been requested by 22 countries and multiple US states.

Image: Unsplash

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