Apple and Google’s coronavirus contact tracing app scores big win in Europe

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  • Apple and Google have made several improvements to their coronavirus contact tracing app that will be available on iPhone and Android in various countries.
  • The “exposure notification” app now has new features that protect user privacy even better than initial measures. Similarly, the app has new provisions meant to reduce the number of false positives.
  • Germany has agreed to use the Apple-Google decentralized contact tracing app, while France and the UK still want to collect more data from phones.
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Apple and Google developed a new API for iPhone and Android that would allow app developers to create contact tracing apps for the novel coronavirus. The Apple-Google approach relies on Bluetooth connectivity between devices to determine the risk of exposure of an individual to a person who tested positive to COVID-19. The object of such apps is for medical systems to be able to perform quick contact tracing and react accordingly. Patients can be isolated earlier and tested for COVID-19 with the help of such apps. But, crucially, participation is voluntary. It’s up to iPhone and Android users to opt-in. When they do, their privacy will be protected, and neither Apple nor Google will collect any data about users. It’ll all stay on their phones.

Several governments in Europe have been working on their own contact tracing app as well, some starting similar initiatives before Apple and Google announced their joint effort. But not all countries went for a privacy-friendly approach. The UK, France, and Germany all wanted Apple and Google to make certain exceptions that would allow these governments to run their own contact tracing app, and collect more user data. Germany announced over the weekend that it’ll drop its requests and instead follow Apple and Google’s guidelines, just as the two tech giants announced new changes for the app that will improve user privacy.

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Apple and Google’s coronavirus contact tracing app scores big win in Europe originally appeared on on Mon, 27 Apr 2020 at 06:50:32 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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