Apple and Google are building a more private contact tracing system against the Coronavirus

Apple and Google, on Friday, announced a new system for tracking the spread f the novel coronavirus COVID 19. The system allows users to share data through Bluetooth low Energy(BLE) transmissions and approved apps from health organizations.
The way the system works is by utilizing short-range Bluetooth communications to establish a voluntary contact tracing network. Extensive data about the spread of t=COVID 19 will be kept on phones that have been in close proximity to each other.
Official apps form public health organizations will be able to get access to this data, and those who download them can report if they have been diagnosed with COVID 19. An also alerts people who download them if they have been in close contact with anyone who has been infected.
By mid-May, Apple and Google will introduce a pair of iOS and Android APIs which health authorities and their apps can implement. During this phase, users will still have to download an app to participate in contact-tracing, which may limit adoption.
In the months after the API is complete, Apple and Google will work on building tracking functionality into their operating systems, which will make it available to everyone using their OS.
contact tracing
contact tracing
Contact tracing is one of the most promising solutions for containing COVID19, and using digital surveillance technology to do has raised lots of privacy concerns and questions on its effectiveness. Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns about tracking users with phone data, arguing that any system would need to be limited in scope and avoid compromising user privacy.
Unlike the other methods, this Bluetooth plan would not track people’s physical location, it will basically pick up the signals of nearby phones at 5 minutes intervals and store the connections between them in a database. If one person tests positive for COVID 19, they could tell the app they’ve been infected, and it could notify other people whose phones passed within close range in the preceding days.
The system will also try to prevent people from being identified, even after sharing their data. While the app regularly sends information out over Bluetooth, it broadcasts an anonymous key instead of a static identity, and those keys cycle every 15 minutes to maintain a level of privacy.
Also, and most crucial, there is no central master list of which phones have been matched, contagious or otherwise. This is because the phones are performing the cryptographic calculations required to protect privacy. The central servers only maintain the database of shared keys, rather than the interactions between those keys.
Although this method seems almost perfect, it still has some potential flaws. It can still flag people in adjacent rooms who don’t actually share the space and cause unnecessary worry. It may also not be able to capture how long someone was exposed, for example, working next to an infected person all day, for example, will expose you to a much greater viral load than walking by them on the street.
And it also depends on the user having the apps on their phones and in the short term and up to date smartphones in the longterm, which not everyone everywhere might have.
Also, the program is relatively new, and the companies are still talking to public health authorities about how to run ti, This system probably cannot  replace old-fashioned methods of contact tracing — which involve interviewing infected people about where they’ve been and who they’ve spent time with — but it could offer a high-tech supplement using a device that billions of people already own. their phones.