Apple and Google announced a system for tracking the spread of the new coronavirus, allowing users to share data through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions and approved apps from health organizations.
The new system, which is laid out in a series of documents and white papers, would use short-range Bluetooth communications to establish a voluntary contact-tracing network, keeping extensive data on phones that have been in close proximity with each other. Official apps from public health authorities will get access to this data, and users who download them can report if they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. The system will also alert people who download them to whether they were in close contact with an infected person.
Apple and Google will introduce a pair of iOS and Android APIs in mid-May and make sure these health authorities’ apps can implement them.
Nice. An API to allow government agencies to track who you’ve been in contact with. What could go wrong once you’ve opted in? Curious… who gave Big Tech the green light? There are still discussions going on how society should proceed and which safeguards should be in place before anything rolls out. But you know… Big Tech to the rescue. As you can imagine, the EFF is none too happy. And the creator of Signal also chimed and gave his thoughts on the technical aspects of Google/Apple’s technology.
Basically, any notice you will get is retroactive — AFTER a person you’ve been in contact with is later diagnosed with COVID-19. Who exactly that was will always remain a mystery to you. Talk about a boogieman and an opportunity for false positives (like the guy who singlehandedly created traffic jams on Google Maps)!
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