Apple, Google race to bring COVID-19 contact tracing to 3 billion people

Apple and Google today revealed a rare partnership to add technology to iPhones and their derivatives that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with COVID-19. People must opt in to the system, but it has the potential to cover roughly a third of the world’s population.

Apple Google COVID. Apple and Google team on cross-platform COVID-19 contact tracing tool

Apple and Google team on cross-platform COVID-19 contact tracing tool
Click for larger view (Source: Apple and Google)

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg:

The technology, known as contact-tracing, is designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus by telling users they should quarantine or isolate themselves after contact with an infected individual.

Tf a user tests positive for Covid-19, and adds that data to their public health app, users who they came into close proximity with over the previous several days will be notified of their contact. This period could be 14 days, but health agencies can set the time range.

In the coming months, both companies will add the technology directly into their operating systems so this contact-tracing software works without having to download an app. Users must opt in, but this approach means many more people can be included. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have about 3 billion users between them, over a third of the world’s population.

Some politicians and regulators have been warning that citizens’ privacy should be protected.

“We caution that actions taken to contain spreading of coronavirus must also preserve the right to privacy held by each and every American,” members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives, wrote in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump. “Google’s colossal stores of data on daily movements of Americans, coupled with the might of local, state, and federal governments is an alarming prospect.”

MacDailyNews Take: From what we’ve seen, the proposed system will protect user privacy. Consent is required and no location data is not collected. The system also won’t notify users of who they came into contact with or where that contact occurred. Neither company has access to the data, either. So, basically, with this COVID-19 contact tracing system, it’s obvious that Apple took the lead here as personal data looks to be well-protected. Google must secretly hate it. It’s like a vampire signing on to manufacture wooden stakes and tanning beds.


    1. Meaning, I would trust Bill Clinton with my daughter more than I would trust the Silicon Valley crowd with any health data that could be given to the new Heath Care Nazis.

      1. Meaning, Bill Clinton gained a reputation as a womanizer but all his affairs were with consenting adult women (as best all the legal eagles have been able to determine after decades of warlock hunting).

        Don on the other hand bragged openly about his non consensual abuse of women, and has been videotaped partying with Epstein, a known sex worker trafficker. He used his pageants as another way to scope out women to abuse, routinely barging into changing rooms when women were undressing. Don has repeatedly made large payments to attempt to silence his siliconed prostitutes, while openly bragging about affairs he had while married to one of his imported trophy wives, the latest one who illegally worked in NYC without immigration papers. Don claims he can’t help but grab them by the p*ssy because if you’re rich you can do anything you want.
        All this is well documented.
        The righties support the more disgusting sexual predator.

        Kent should keep his daughter far away from Maralago.

  1. As much as I dislike Android, now really isn’t the time to go into the whole “Apple vs Google” rants and debates. This is quite possibly the most traumatic event since the 1918 pandemic and if these two companies can set their differences aside to make tech that can help protect people during this pandemic then that’s a good thing. If only our politicians can do the same…

  2. There’s a thread on Twitter by Moxie Marlinspike @moxie via a PED story today

    In the tweet, @moxie explains the software process involved in the tracking of the Chinese virus and mentions how someone could possibly take the software intent and turn it somewhat malicious:

    “Not to mention the “prank” aspect of being able to light up everyone you’ve been near’s devices with “you’ve been exposed to covid” (without them knowing you’re the culprit) at any time, without some kind of pretty heavy manual ID/result verification at the moment of reporting.”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.