In a collaborative effort, technology giants Apple and Google have partnered to release plans for a new tracking application set for May 5, 2020. For the past couple of months both companies aggressively worked to provide a function that would allow people to alert others of being possibly effected with COVID-19 (an infectious disease that can lead to mild to moderate respiratory problems). With privacy being of great concern, Time Cook, Apple CEO and Sundar Pichai, Head of Google, have promised the new application would be built in such a manner to not compromise peoples privacy.
Users will be able to have the opportunity to opt into the system to activate a notification to others that they may have potentially been exposed to confirmed person(s) of coronavirus within the past 2 weeks. With individual users permission, Health Officials would also have the capability of activating a persons phone to transcend an anonymous message to others of possible exposure.
The application would have the capability to identify other devices that are powered by Apple or Google Android software. Communication between devices are possible by utilizing the built in Bluetooth radio. An affected person can alert other phones that were in close proximity of another during a 2 week period of the potential exposure using a special code.
Expected to be released later year of 2020, the new application would be available to billions of phones around the globe. In the interim, Apple and Google are looking to assist health organization initiate the test versions of their IOS and Android operating software.
Both companies stated they expect to coordinate with public health officials from around the world on the application. They will suggest that health official create limited app per country, in result, minimizing potential confusion amongst the population as to which app to use.
Apple and Google are apart of a few companies that have been working to assist with the fight of coronavirus, which has caused the death of over 300,000 people around the globe and infected more than 4.5 million. Source: Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Earlier this year, Google’s parent company, Alphabet along with the White House launched a website that provides virus testing information to the people of California. Similarly, Apple built a website and application that also informs people about the coronavirus. Both companies included links within the news sector of their individual homepages which provides information on COVID-19. In addition, they have been constructing and distributing protective equipment for health care workers.
In the upcoming weeks, Apple and Google will discuss how access will be obtained and maintained. In addition, they will discuss how both companies will ensure people’s privacy with the new technology. The two companies have stated that health officials will not be able to collect information from individual users or have the capability to run targeted advertisements within the apps.
Apple and Google have had multiple contact with the press, answering various inquiries including privacy concerns and how the application will work and their users. One of the distinctive alterations to their application is the encryption technology, which information is converted into secret codes that hides the true identity and details of data.
Both companies stated they will continue to provide updated information to the technology on their respective websites and with the press.
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