Apple and Google Launch COVID-19 Exposure Alert Tool

Apple and Google have officially launched their Exposure Notification system – previously debuted as contact-tracing software – which is designed to alert users of possible contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app — rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install,” says the tech giants in a joint statement.

The Application Programming Interface (API) will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android and iOS devices.

“Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app.”

One new element of this API is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. This has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slow the spread of the disease at a time when governments and public health agencies across the world are attempting to do just that.

The companies say that this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will now take the lead.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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