Apple and Google's engineer teams have joined together and launched a software tool on Wednesday that will assist people with deciding if they were in contact with somebody with COVID-19.
What is important to note is that the "Exposure Notifications" technology is not a substitute for traditional contact tracking, and the new tool minimizes privacy concerns. As yet, officials from 22 countries of five continents — also an undisclosed number of U.S. states — have been given access to the Apple / Google technology. It excels in contact tracing, the process of tracking the spread of coronavirus by monitoring the movements of those who have tested positive, the companies say.
The first stage of the project is the API, which can be integrated into their applications by public health institutions. The next step is a machine-level communication monitoring program that will function on an opt-in basis through iOS and Android devices.
Using Bluetooth beaconing, the system uses onboard radios on your device to transmit an anonymous ID across short ranges. Servers will distribute the last 14 days of revolving IDs to other apps that are looking for matches. It will determine based on the time spent and the distance between two computers.
Both companies have pledged that the use of all apps built using their technology will be voluntary, with users having the option to share their positive test results and be notified of potential viral exposure. Apple and Google say they are now stopping the governments who use their apps to collect GPS localizing data and their apps from keeping logs on their personal devices from those people who users were accessing remotely in a "decentered" method, which is beyond the scope of health services.