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Apple and Google team up on Covid-19 contact tracing technology

By Cookie Monster - on 11 Apr 2020, 10:58am

Apple and Google team up on Covid-19 contact tracing technology

Apple and Google just announced a joint effort to develop a contact tracing system which uses Bluetooth to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The contact tracing system will be implemented in two stages. 

Starting in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps have to be downloaded from the respective app stores. 

The second phase involves Apple and Google working together to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into their respective underlying platforms. Users can opt in to participate.

Both companies promise that the contact tracing technology has user privacy and security at the center of its design. They state that Bluetooth technology does not track people's physical location; it picks up signals of phones in the vicinity at 5-minute intervals and store these connections in a database.

The signals sent out by phones are broadcasted as anonymous keys which are refreshed every 15 minutes. If someone is tested positive for the coronavirus, he/she has to key the information into the app and the system will notify other users whose phones have passed within close range in the last 14 days. 

Source: Google