Mobile giants Google and Apple together against COVID-19
Google and Apple announced in March the presence of the COVID-19 in their ranks. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many companies have been hit by the disease. Both direct and indirect hits. However, many are also working to combat it. This is the case of the big companies Google and Apple. The corporations are working hand in hand on a system to track possible Coronavirus infections. In this way, the companies communicated the news through their websites. As well as on the twitter of their CEOs. Consequently, this process seeks to develop in two phases. The first phase will come out in the middle of May, approximately.
Google and Apple’s steps against COVID-19
In this first stage, they will develop two APIs (Application Programming Interface). The APIs allow the exchange of information. As well as commands and functions between apps that use them. With the official apps of the health organizations, the infected users will share information. Likewise, infected and possible sources of infection create a database. As a result, this database will be available for official apps that use the API.
“PUBLIC HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS HAVE IDENTIFIED CONTACT TRACING AS A VALUABLE TOOL TO HELP CONTAIN ITS SPREAD”
The interconnection between Android devices and iOS creates this database. Correspondingly, the APIs allow this interconnection. Therefore, official health apps will be able to locate contacts. That is, create a voluntary tracking network. So the users report that they are infected. They can also be notified of a possible infection. As soon as the system detects its passage through an outbreak. These official apps will be available in the App Store and Google Play.
In the second phase, Google and Apple will work to create a more comprehensive tracking platform. This platform will be based on Bluetooth. Getting to the underlying operating system. Thus, in the Android and iOS tracking functionality would actually be available. At this stage, it will be easier for users. Additionally, the mandatory download of an app is eliminated. Also, the exchange between official health apps would be extended.
Google and Apple in the face of privacy threats
Google and Apple ensure that users’ privacy is preserved. They mention that “privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort”. They reiterate that they will work to implement strong privacy protections. This is a premonition of the many concerns about the vulnerability of users.
However, as a security guarantee, Bluetooth does not provide a geographic location. The system through Bluetooth will pick up signals from nearby phones. Then, it would record the connections between the phones at this time. If one of the users has COVID-19, it informs the app. People are informed if they pass by in the previous days. Similarly, identification will be provided through anonymous passwords instead of identities. These will change every 15 minutes. In addition, the system issues passwords only during the period of infection.
“ALL OF US AT APPLE AND GOOGLE BELIEVE THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE IMPORTANT MOMENT TO WORK TOGETHER”
Finally, Google and Apple said there was no better time to work together. In addition, they said they hoped to take advantage of the technology to help countries around the world stop COVID-19. It is worth remembering that the pandemic affected 1,783,941 people around the world, wreaking havoc on daily life, socially, politically, and economically.