Apple, Google to Release Early Version of COVID-19 Tracing Tool Next Week

A couple of weeks back, Apple and Google announced that they would be teaming up to bring forth a COVID-19 tracing tool for iOS and Android using Bluetooth technology. Today, the companies have revealed that an early version of the contact-tracing tool will be rolled out to the developers next week (via Bloomberg).

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According to the report, the tool dubbed ‘Exposure Notification’ will have strong privacy protections in place, including Bluetooth data encryption, to make it more difficult for individuals to be identified by hackers. Apps using the tool will also limit the recording of the time people are exposed to an infected person to a maximum of 30 minutes.

Apple and Google said that they have made these changes to the tool after discussions with governments and public health app developers.

The first phase — tools for public health apps to add contact tracing — will launch publicly in mid-May after an early beta version of the software is released to developers next week. In the coming months, the technology will be embedded more deeply into the Apple and Google operating systems to be less reliant on apps.

The companies also explained that if a person inputs that they have tested positive for Covid-19 into the system, they will be added to a positive diagnosis list so the system can notify other people they have come into contact with.

Apple has said that the software update to enable the system will work on devices released in the last four years, whereas Google says it will work with Android 6.0 or higher.

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