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Apple and Google show an application interface option for tracking contacts of patients with COVID-19

06.05.2020 0 Comments

Apple and Google show an application interface option for tracking contacts of patients with COVID-19


Apple and Google have shared additional information about the operation of their automatic notification system for contacts with potential carriers of coronavirus infection COVID-19.

Recall that the collaboration of two technology companies was announced in early April. Their joint project provides for the creation of a system that will track user contacts based on the exchange of data between smartphones via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Smartphones users exchange identification keys, which are constantly changing, while maintaining the anonymity of the owner of the device. All keys with the permission of users are uploaded to the cloud and stored there for 14 days. In the future, if a person becomes infected with COVID-19 and enters the test results into the application of a local healthcare organization, he can allow the system to send an alert to other people with whom he had close contact through the API. But since all the data is anonymous, other users will receive only information that they had contact with the infected person, as well as instructions with further actions. In this case, no information is transmitted about the identity or location of the patients.


Now, companies have shown an interface, so you can better understand how the system will work in practice. It was also shown how specific warnings will be displayed and when certain API calls should be made. The latest information is more relevant for developers. In addition, Apple and Google also shared a reference code library (SDK for Android and Xcode toolkit for iOS), which will serve as a "launching pad" for application development by health agencies. Although the code itself was never intended to be used as a final application.


The companies refused to name any specific partners from the public sector, but said that they were actively contacted by the governments of many countries because of the unique access at the operating system level to Bluetooth systems in smartphones.

Apple and Google set out six specific principles that public sector partners must adhere to. In particular, applications can only be used for actions aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19, they will be limited in the use of location services and require consent to gain access to the API or provide information about a positive diagnosis. Technology giants will not allow any targeted advertising to be placed in end applications; any existing applications using targeted advertising or location services will need to disable these systems before they can access the API.

It is also noted that in order to avoid fragmentation, companies intend to restrict access to only one application per country. Although the wording leaves possible exceptions for some countries, such as the United States, where a regional approach (at the state level) can be used, rather than a national one.

Source: The Verge


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