Google on Monday said Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc. were prohibiting the use of location tracking in devices that use a new contact tracing program that the two are developing to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Apple and Google, whose operating systems are running 99 per cent of smartphones, said they will work together last month to build a program to alert people who have been exposed to those who have tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus disease. The companies intend to allow the use of technology only by public health authorities.
Both companies stated privacy, and a primary objective was to prevent governments from using the program to collect citizens’ data. The system uses phone-based Bluetooth signals to track encounters and doesn’t use or store GPS location data. But the developers of official coronavirus-related apps in many U.S. states last month told Reuters it was important that they are allowed to use GPS location data in tandem with the latest contact tracking program to monitor how outbreaks spread and locate hotspots.
Apple-Google’s decision never to allow GPS data collection for its contact tracing program. It would force public health officials to rely on Apple and Google. It has defined as unreliable, battery-draining workarounds when accessing GPS locations. Alternatives would probably miss some encounters because, after some time. iPhones and Android devices turn off Bluetooth connections for battery-saving as well as other reasons unless consumers remember to reactivate them. Yet some apps have said they want to stick to their own strategies.
Twenty Establishes Tracing Software
Tech company Twenty established the state of Utah’s Safe Together touch tracing software with both GPS and Bluetooth. It said on Monday that without the new Apple-Google platform, the device “operates efficiently.”
Canada’s province of Alberta, that does not collect GPS data. It said it had no plans to implement the Apple-Google program for its ABTraceTogether application. Privacy experts have cautioned that any cache of health-related location data could make companies. Also, individuals vulnerable to becoming ostracized when exposed to the data.
Apple and Google also said Monday that they would only allow one device per country. It is to use the contact framework, prevent fragmentation and promote wider adoption. However, the companies state that they help countries that help a state or federal solution. Also, the U.S. states allow using of the program.