To fight against the coronavirus pandemic, tech giants Apple and Google are working together. to create technology that can enable smartphones to trace COVID-19. The concept was announced in a press conference by Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, CEOs of Apple and Google respectively.
To frame the technology, Apple and Google will create an application program interface that enables interoperability between Android and iOS. This will take place in the next month, i.e., May and will enable apps from Public health authorities to work on both operating systems, and users will be able to download these apps from the official App store of their devices.
Contact tracing can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and can be done without compromising user privacy. We’re working with @sundarpichai & @Google to help health officials harness Bluetooth technology in a way that also respects transparency & consent. https://t.co/94XlbmaGZV
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 10, 2020
A Bluetooth based contact tracing platform is the next thing both companies will be working on together, as mentioned in the blog post. This will require explicit user consent but won’t collect personal data and the list of people you have been in contact with will not be shared with anyone. Furthermore, the system won’t identify those who have been tested as positive to other or two companies.
This collaboration of Apple and Google will ease the work of the Government and other health authorities from making contact tracing apps for smartphones. Anonymous identifier beacons will be shared between Android and iOS that detects when people have been close to each other.
Lastly, Apple and Google both say that privacy, transparency, and consent are the priority of this collaboration.
“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems,” the companies said in a joint statement.