Apple, Google’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing Technology Goes Live

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Update: Aarogya Setu won't work with Apple and Google's contact tracing technology mainly because of the privacy-preserving policies on the new tool. The new COVID-19 contact tracing tool by Apple and Google includes a few guidelines that don't hamper individual privacy, which isn't compatible with Aarogya Setu.

Apple, Google’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing Technology Goes Live

 

Most importantly, Aarogya Setu includes location-based tracking, which is excluded in the new Apple-Google tool. Plus, the iOS 13.5 update COVID-19 update doesn't work in India.

COVID-19 pandemic brought together two competitive companies, Apple and Google, together to develop a technology to combat the virus. Now, the COVID-19 contact tracing software is available across all iOS and Android smartphones. The software alerts people who might have been exposed to a COVID-19 infected person.

Apple, Google’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing Technology Goes Live

Health authorities are using contact tracing to track people who might be exposed to an infected person. The tracing helps in identifying such people and quarantining them to retain the spread of the virus. Apple and Google are now bringing contact tracing technology right to our smartphones and would help identify asymptomatic patients interacting with other people, especially because they might be unaware of the viral infection.

Apple, Google's COVID-19 Contact Tracing Explained

Here's how Apple and Google's COVID-19 contact tracing will work. Firstly, the technology is optional for both Android and iOS smartphones, allowing users to opt-out of it anytime. The contact tracing is a Bluetooth-based technology and will broadcast random, frequently changing keys.

 

In case a person tests positive for the virus, the phone will automatically list the people encountered to begin testing and get themselves into quarantine. The technology can't be traced back to the individual users and the entire system is decentralized notes Apple and Google.

Will This Help?

Bluetooth-based contact tracing brings with it a couple of security and privacy issues. However, considering that many countries have failed at bringing out similar apps, Apple and Google's collaboration might have a chance at succeeding. The reason the inability of Android and iOS phones to detect each other as it works on all devices.

Furthermore, the technology doesn't use GPS to uphold the privacy of the people. But governments think that this would undermine the entire purpose of contact tracing. Plus, the exposure notification technology can be used by health authorities to further build contact tracing apps. Numerous countries worldwide including Germany, the UK, France, and many states in the US have shown interest in the new tool.

The contact tracing tool is available on all iOS and Android phones and can be toggled on for notifications. Do note that it would require you to keep your phone's Bluetooth switched on always, which could drain your battery.

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