Apple, Google designs new coronavirus contact tracing technology that does not use location tracking.

Apple, Google designs new coronavirus contact tracing technology that does not use location tracking.

Apple and Google have designed a new corona-virus contact tracing technology that does not use location tracking.

Reuters in a statement said,“ Apple and Google, whose operating systems power 99% of smartphones, said last month they would work together to create a system for notifying people who have been near others who have tested positive for COVID-19.”

However, only public health authorities can use contact tracing technology.

In order not to intrude on the privacy of people, the contact tracing technology will use  Bluetooth signals from phones to detect encounters with affected COVID-19 patients which do not utilize or save any GPS location data.

This Apple-Google technology will prevent the Government from gathering data on citizens.

Privacy experts have cautioned that any cache of location data related to health issues which are exposed can make businesses and individuals to be ostracized.

In a joint statement, the two companies said, “Bluetooth identifiers rotate every 10-20 minutes, to help prevent tracking. Each user will have to make an explicit choice to turn on the technology. It can also be turned off by the user at any time.”

Speaking on the issue, some apps have disclosed to stick to their own approaches. A Software company is known as Twenty, developer of Utah’s Healthy Together contact tracing app with both GPS and Bluetooth, said their app “operates effectively” without the new Apple-Google tool.

“If their approach can be more effective than our current solution, we’ll eagerly incorporate their features into our existing application, provided it meets the specifications of current and prospective public health partners, ‘Twenty’ further stated.

Also, Apple and Google will allow only one app per country to use contact technology in order to prevent fragmentation and to promote wider adoption.

The new technology can be used for the contact tracing app being developed in South Africa.

Author

Tosin Agboola

Reporter with Ouut Africa.

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