Friday, 05 June, 2020


Apple and Google clash with health officials over COVID-19 contact tracing

Google and Apple announce their joint Exposure Notification API is live Apple and Google contact tracing technology could be integrated into COVIDSafe app
Melba Vasquez | 23 May, 2020, 00:14

The exposure API works within mobile applications through a decentralised identifier system that uses randomly generated keys created on the device.

The system is specifically created to notify users of the potential exposure they can encounter from individuals who are confirmed with the coronavirus infection, but it will still preserve the privacy of individuals while identifying their location data and information.

I have been advocating for privacy-preserving/privacy-oriented solutions to issue, and in this particular case, contact tracing to contain the spread of the COVID19 infection.

Trudeau had not committed to the idea of promoting the use of an app. Critics are concerned that it will undermine civil liberties and privacy.

Many U.S. states and 22 countries across five continents have already asked for, and been provided access to, the API to support their development efforts, and they anticipate more being added going forward. One examples is Singapore where, despite using a widely credited tracing app, still had to return to lockdown.

Starting May 21, the Exposure Notifications technology by the two tech giants will be available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android.

On one level, that's smart.

A spokesperson from the companies also stated that the API could help different contact tracing apps and systems work across regional and state borders.

COVIDSafe now asks the user to share a name, phone number, postcode and age range before they can download the app.

"The DTA (Digital Transformation Agency) and the Department of Health have been working with Apple and Google to understand and test the Exposure Notification Framework since it was released to see how it can be applied in Australia", a statement confirmed. This will "allow more individuals to participate.as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities", Apple said in a press release last Month.

The technical challenges outlined by the companies suggest the COVIDSafe app is not able to collect all the data it was set out to do. Three US states - Alabama, South Carolina and North Dakota - have said they will participate in using the contact tracing API from Apple and Google. Education, it turns out, is a big component of this-and it may be just as important as the technology. There are dozens of contact tracing apps underway on national and regional levels. "Large proportions of the population are convinced that either "Big Tech" or "Big Government" is out to steal their data or spy on them".

While use of the app is voluntary, it is estimated that it will initially be used by at least one fifth of the population. It will certainly make it much easier for apples iphone and Android phones to spot each various other, job throughout nationwide and local boundaries and take care of some of the issues that led previous applications to rapidly drain pipes a phone's battery.

Exposure Notifications will use privacy-preserving digital technology, according to the company.

Exposure notification is no substitute for contact tracing but it is hoped that together the use of a smartphone-based notification system and human interview contract tracing may help health agencies slow the spread of COVID-19.

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