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After hitting the modern world with the strongest pandemic it has ever seen, COVID-19 isn’t stopping still. Many countries are coming together to fight the pandemic in every possible way. This includes the use of contact tracing apps that work on Bluetooth features along with a health survey.
Recently, tech giants (Google & Apple) have made big announcements related to the contact tracing apps. The announcement has been made with reference to banning the location tracking on these apps that are being used to track probable COVID-19 patients.
Apple & Google Bans Location Tracking on Contact Tracing Apps
On Monday, two of the biggest tech giants have talked about banning the use of location tracking that’s being used to trace contacts. In order to slow the spread of Novel Coronavirus & capture the probable patients at the initial stage, both the companies are building a new contact tracing system.
Apple & Google are undoubtedly the biggest mobile operating system players who capture more than 98% hold on the market. And imagine both the companies coming together to build something that will be most helpful for everyone around the world in this critical situation. Because, all over the world people are fighting fearlessly with the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the only thing we are failing at is, capturing the recent spread cases that eventually affect more people unintentionally.
Both the companies are on the same page of keeping the contact tracing system as private as can be from the user’s point of view. The system from Apple & Google will be using Bluetooth signals instead of storing GPS location data. The companies are quite certain about not allowing the use of GPS location data with contact tracing systems.
Privacy experts have warned that any cache of location data related to health issues could make businesses and individuals vulnerable to being ostracized if the data is exposed.
In order to use the new contact system, Apple & Google will be allowing one app per country. The companies are planning to avoid the fragmentation & encourage the wider adoption of the system. They would be supporting countries that opt for a regional or state approach, however, and that U.S. states will be allowed to use the system.
Apple & Google Together Building Contact Tracing System
Recently, both Apple & Google made it public that they are coming together to work on something that’s bigger than companies or any individual. A potentially huge step to fight Coronavirus, the contact tracing app will be compatible with both Android as well as iOS.
Contact tracing can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and can be done without compromising user privacy. We’re working with @sundarpichai & @Google to help health officials harness Bluetooth technology in a way that also respects transparency & consent. https://t.co/94XlbmaGZV
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 10, 2020
To help public health officials slow the spread of #COVID19, Google & @Apple are working on a contact tracing approach designed with strong controls and protections for user privacy. @tim_cook and I are committed to working together on these efforts.https://t.co/T0j88YBcFu
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) April 10, 2020
Apple made a company announcement about both the companies partnering for COVID-19 contact tracing technology, “Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health organizations have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread. A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy.
First, in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.
Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This is a more robust solution than an API and would allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities. Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders. We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze.”
Apple & Google are working on a tool to fight COVID-19 that will be working on Bluetooth technology unlike others who ask for GPS location tracking. It’s a huge step forward to the direction of fighting the pandemic with contact tracing technology.
Do share your opinions about the initiative from Apple & Google for banning location tracking.