Apple and Google to release Coronavirus API despite privacy concerns

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Tech giants, Google and Apple to release Coronavirus contact-tracing API

Google and Apple are set to release a contact-tracing app for Coronavirus to help countries ease their pandemic lockdowns while keeping infections in check. The COVID-19 outbreak has now forced lockdown on people for more than 2 months and still the countries are finding it difficult to control the spread.

Apple and Google are working on coronavirus contact-tracing technology that is to be built into both Android and iOS devices, allowing apps to use it while consuming minimal power.

Apple and Google suggested a decentralized model to NHS, but the UK and France have been against them and prefer to use a “centralized” approach in which data is processed on state-controlled servers.

The “decentralized” model approach carries out all data processing on the devices themselves, allowing for increased privacy, while the National Health Service said centralized data would help it track infection patterns.

The countries are also looking to switch to Google and Apple’s model, the countries have also hired a Swiss IT development firm to “investigate the complexity, performance and feasibility” of implementing Google and Apple’s API, according to a Financial Times report.

The Cornonavisus contact-tracing app is designed to send out alerts based solely on a questionnaire about the user’s symptoms, creating the potential for false positives.

The NHS is currently testing an initial version of its contact-tracing app on the Isle of Wight and is planning to test a second version there before proceeding to a nationwide release. Contact-tracing apps use Bluetooth to sense who a user has been in proximity with for a significant length of time, and then alert people when one of their contacts develops Covid-19.

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