Google and Apple Ban the use of location tracking in contact tracking apps

Apple and Google have said that they’d ban the use of location tracking in apps that use a brand new contact tracing system the 2 are building to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Apple and Google, whose operating systems power 99 percent of smartphones, said last month they’d work together to make a system for notifying those that are near others who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease sometimes caused by the coronavirus.

Both companies said that privacy and preventing governments from using the system to compile data on citizens was a primary goal. The system uses Bluetooth signals from phones to detect encounters and doesn’t use or store GPS location data.
But the developers of coronavirus-related apps in several US states told Reuters last month that it had been vital that they be allowed to use GPS location data in conjunction with the new contact tracing system so as to trace how outbreaks move and identify hotspots.

Apple and Google on Monday said they’ll not allow use of GPS data together with the contact tracing systems. that call would require public health authorities who want to use GPS location data to depend upon unstable workarounds to detect encounters using Bluetooth sensors.
Last week, Apple and Google announced that they’d release two early versions of the system on.

The rare collaboration is predicted to accelerate usage of apps that aim to urge potentially infected individuals into testing or quarantine more quickly and reliably than existing systems in much of the world. Such tracing will play a significant role in managing the virus once lockdowns end, health experts say.

Apple and Google attempt to release the ultimate version of their tools by mid-May after the developers complete the testing.

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