The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend; Apple And Google Join Forces To Build COVID-19 Tracking System

Apple and Google have decided to partner together to develop a contact tracing technology to help track the spread of the coronavirus.

The contact tracing technology would be using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions to aid governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus.

As the virus can be transmitted from close distances with those affected, contact tracing will prove to be an invaluable tool to help control the spread.

Many leading public health authorities, universities and NGOs around the globe have been working on developing this opt-in contact tracing technology.

To that end, both Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution, including application programming interface (API) and operating-system-level technology.

The solution will be implemented in two steps that will take place in the coming months.

The first step, to take place in May, will see both companies release APIs on their respective app stores, ensuring public health authorities can use them. Users will have to download an app to participate in contact-tracing during this period.

The second step will see Apple and Google continue to develop on a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing into the underlying operating system. This way, it will become an immediate option for everyone with either an iOS or Android phone.

By using Bluetooth, it will pick up signals at certain intervals and store those connections in a database.

If one of these connections tests positive for the virus, they can inform the app and will likely notify the other connections it made a few days prior.

This solution also greatly prioritises user privacy, giving an anonymous key when sending information via Bluetooth that cycles every 15 minutes.

However, these are mostly how it should work, with proper execution still yet to be seen. Hopefully, though, this joint cooperation between the two tech companies will produce a result that will help turn the tide against the coronavirus.

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