“Contact Tracing” – Apple and Google’s Joint Initiative to Track and Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Rapidly rising concerns of Coronavirus has forced various nations to turn to new technology to fight the COVID-19 battle.

Image source: DESIGNTaxi
Image source: DESIGNTaxi

We’re rapidly heading toward the apex of the coronavirus as America struggles to control the situations. During this time, Google and Apple have to come together to find a solution to put in the palm of the hands of the people using iOs and Android app softwares.

Contact Tracing”, is the new technology the two tech giants are progressing to create. It’s simply a coronavirus tracking system that notifies the device owner via bluetooth, as soon as they come in contact with a COVID-19 victim.

The two companies announced on Friday that they have been collaborating to create the tools that will give a heads up to the public about the spread.

The companies will do so by allowing app developers to use bluetooth technology to alert them when they come in contact with an infected person.

Apple and Google announced that user privacy and security is their prime concern in the process.

There are several ways other countries are trying to track the COVID-19 spread. South Korea has created an ecosystem that tracks & informs the government about the coronavirus cases using the credit card transactions, location, video surveillance as well as audio conversations between the citizens.

While this might seem like a feasible method, it has certainly raised privacy concerns among advocates, who additionally believe these systems will continue to invade citizen’s privacy post pandemic.

Josephine Wolff, an assistant professor of cybersecurity policy at Tufts University, told CNBC, “the purpose of collecting personal information needs to be clear, so that people can see when the benefits outweigh the costs. At the moment, data is being shared for an important public health reason, she said. But worries remain that such technologies could potentially be used in other areas, like law enforcement.

The U.S. government has shown signs of positive acceptance towards “Contact Tracing”, thus, creating regulation on the amount of time the authorities can actually access and hold personal information. This may extend depending on the COVID-19 curve.

Other apps like the Trace Together App, is designed with an opt-in process that allows individuals to decide whether or not they’re comfortable in sharing their personal information.

Methods like these are vital in helping stop the spread, considering more than 1.8 million people worldwide have been infected, while 114,000 people have died so far, from the novel coronavirus.