During the time when everyone should show strength, iOS, and Android coming with the opt-in system.

The long rancorous standing rivals, big giants Apple and Google have teamed up to create the contact tracing system that the people around the world need right now against COVID-19 and staunch privacy advocates fear.

Both the companies said a key solution is by tracking phones. Each smartphone has the capability to act as Your smartphone will act as an incognito identifying beacon, which is going to be used to power the iOS and Android platforms using Bluetooth in this forward-thinking tracing system. A person usually exchanges anonymous identifying indicators, as you come into contact with people, according to the official documentation.

Have you been tested positive with novel coronavirus; then log into the app and ram in your test result into an app created by public health authorities like Aarogya Setu- India COVID19 Tracker in India, launched by the government(not necessarily an app by Apple and Google, mind). Somehow, you came in contact with the person or cross by him/her, even if it’s days later, you will get an alert but not the name of the person who was tested positive, for privacy reasons.

You will be getting a notification cautioning you to get tested for the virus, meanwhile, you won’t be able to trace back to the origin of a possible person or material you encountered with; the idea here is that Apple and Google’s mobile platforms will act as much-needed beacons.
A joint statement released by Google and Apple mentioned the contact tracing app will be live in “the coming months”. In May, the two companies will release APIs to allow interoperability between Android and iOS devices to use apps released by public health authorities.

Image: Apple/Google

What about privacy?

Earlier, China, the country where coronavirus was originated, and South Korea have pre-used apps to track COVID19, suspicious proposals and methods from the UK and the US are also opting. Concerns over how the system will be used to track and implicate such an enormous mass-monitoring system – like how it will be used during this time of crisis or after the coronavirus outbreak. 

Statement from tech giants added both have built some privacy safeguards into the app. It has been made certain that no collection of personally identifiable information (PPI) or user location, and the people who crossed paths or encountered won’t leave anyone’s device. In a case, the user updates the public health app connected with Google and Apple system, the app will require consent from the user before it alerts others they’ve made in contact with over the last 14 days.

This consent will cite that person might retain his/her positive status and could limit systems’ accuracy. But governments will endeavor, system one that is developed by Google and Apple could assure the people and likely to increase the participation. Well, the mastermind working on the smartphone tracking system in the UK, Michael Parker, Professor, the University of Oxford, told The New York Times,  “We don’t go that way how China has done it, in Europe and the US it will be distinct”.

US government will dictate aggressive measures and will justify them under the guard of COVID19 pandemic management, regardless of the assurances made by Apple and Google. Under the immigration management, the US government persist to lockdown people indefinitely in concentration camps on the border of US-Mexico. 

Whether Apple and Google can safeguard individuals’ PII lies in their system’s design – which allegedly only transmits anonymized identifier keys – as well as both companies’ reputations for protecting user data. Earlier, the Google team kept inveighing against the company cooperating with ICE, per The Guardian. and even Apple went to file the litigation to deny the federals to unlock user devices at their request. 

This step looks to be an ingenious solution, even it raises the question regarding how it operates. No doubt people are eagerly waiting to interact in public again while clomping on the virus. Both Apple and Google insist that this COVID-19 tracing system will be a privacy-first solution.


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