Yesterday, Google and Apple announced a joint venture to develop a coronavirus smartphone “contact tracing” tool that could potentially alert people when they have crossed paths with an infected person.
The two companies released a joint statement saying…
“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems,”
The companies combined will bring together the two largest mobile operating systems in an effort to use smartphone location technology to track and potentially help contain the spread of global Covid-19 outbreak.
It will also allow apps to be created enabling smartphones powered by Apple software and Google-backed Android operating system to exchange information with a joint “opt-in system” using Bluetooth wireless technology.
The decision to join forces comes from lots of governments around the world studying or implementing measures to use smartphone location technology to identify people with the virus and keep them from infecting others.
In the face of rising privacy concerns, Apple and Google insist that “privacy, transparency, and consent” are their top priorities in the joint initiative.
Apple chief executive, Tim Cook says…
“Contact tracing can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and can be done without compromising user privacy,”
American Civil Liberties Union member, Jennifer Granick says in a statement…
“No contact tracing app can be fully effective until there is widespread, free, and quick testing and equitable access to healthcare. These systems also can’t be effective if people don’t trust them, People will only trust these systems if they protect privacy, remain voluntary, and store data on an individual’s device, not a centralized repository.”
Apple and Android put together, would power the majority of the world’s smartphones, so according to analysts, they would be required to effectively trace Covid-19 contacts based on mobility data.
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