Google and Apple team up to create a new way to track Covid-19

and privacy is a top concern

With community transmission being such a huge problem when it comes to Covid-19, Google and Apple are collaborating on new transmission tracing technology that will help people, governments, and health authorities track transmission using Bluetooth technology.

The app will store data (locally) so when someone tests positive for Covid-19 and reports it using the system, the app will notify those who have been in contact with that person.

Privacy will obviously be a big concern but Apple has a very solid track record when it comes to protecting user data so having them on board should definitely ease some concerns. A few ways they are ensuring privacy are:

  • This system does not collect location data from your device and does not share the identities of other users to each other, Google, or Apple.
  • Bluetooth privacy-preserving beacons rotate every 10-20 minutes, to help prevent tracking.
  • Exposure notification is only done on-device and under the user’s control.
  • Google and Apple can disable the system on a regional basis when it is no longer needed

Most importantly, the entire process is voluntary and you can easily opt-out by deleting the app and turning off exposure tracking settings, although hopefully, most people will be using it.

The release of this technology will begin in May with both companies releasing programming interfaces to allow health authorities to develop their own apps. In the coming months, Google and Apple will start rolling the tech into system updates so the maximum amount of users can access the system.


Featured image courtesy of Gabriel Freytez via pexels.com