Google and Apple Plan to Turn Phones into COVID-19 Contact-Tracking Devices
Tech giants Apple and Google have joined forces to develop an interoperable contract-tracing tool that will help individuals determine if they have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19.
As part of this new initiative, the companies are expected to release an API that public agencies can integrate into their apps. The next iteration will be a built-in system-level platform that uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons to allow for contact tracing on an opt-in basis.
The APIs are expected to be available mid-May for Android and iOS, with the broader contact tracing system set to roll out “in the coming months.”
“Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders,” the companies said.
The rare collaboration comes as governments worldwide are increasingly turning to technology such as phone tracking and facial recognition to battle the virus and contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Apple has also launched a new web page announcing the feature, which details the preliminary Bluetooth specifications, cryptography specifications, and the framework API, the contact tracing system will be based on.
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