In times like these when there is a need for joint efforts from the largest of the organizations, Apple and Google are rightly coming together to work on a platform for contact tracking for both, Android and iOS devices. Both companies have announced that they are going to use Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus.
The announcement also mentioned that the user’s privacy and security is central to the design, and there will be APIs and OS-level technology that will enable contact tracing.
First, in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.
Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This is a more robust solution than an API and would allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities. Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders. We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze.
Moments and collaborations like these give an immense faith in the goodness of the large organizations, at the times when it is really needed for fighting a virus outbreak that has put the entire world into a shock. “Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.”