The province of Alberta has become the first in Canada to launch a contact tracing app to track the spread of COVID-19.
Called ABTraceTogether, the app is available for iPhone and Android. Here’s how it works:
Once a user registers their phone number with the app, the app uses bluetooth to log contact with other individuals who have the app when that contact is within approximately 2 meters. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they will be contacted by an Alberta Health Service Contact Tracer, and asked to voluntarily upload their data to Alberta Health Services so that anyone the user came into close contact with over the previous 14 days can be notified.
According to Alberta Health Services, ABTraceTogether does not collect geolocation data, while Bluetooth exchange ID log data remains encrypted locally on your device, until users choose to upload it if they end up with COVID-19.
“Our efforts to flatten the curve are proving to be effective, but we must continue to remain vigilant. Each one of us has a responsibility to do our part in the fight against COVID-19. ABTraceTogether was designed to help protect Albertans and prevent community spread by quickly alerting people who may be at risk. The more Albertans who use it, the better we will be able to protect individuals from being unknowingly exposed and possibly spreading the disease. Give it a try, and encourage your family and friends to do the same. By working together, we can tackle this pandemic,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health in a statement.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government was looking at multiple proposals for digital contact tracing with apps, but emphasized privacy was a major concern.
The launch of ABTraceTogether in Alberta comes as the province has 10% of Canada’s COVID-19 total, according to Reuters.
Download links below:
We’ve reached out to Alberta to see if ABTraceTogether is utilizing the recent collaboration between Apple and Google for its contact tracing tech or not.
Update: The app does not use Apple and Google’s API, as noted by Colin (@perogie) on Twitter. The app requires users to keep the app open and your iPhone unlocked while you are out and about for it to be used properly (thanks Chris):