Coronavirus: Apple, Google team up on contact tracing technology

System will be built into underlying Android, iOS platforms

The partnership will see bluetooth technology used to alert someone if they have been in contact with a person carrying Covid-19

The partnership will see bluetooth technology used to alert someone if they have been in contact with a person carrying Covid-19

 

Apple and Google are teaming up to work on contact tracing technology to help fight the global coronavirus pandemic.

The partnership will see bluetooth technology used to alert someone if they have been in contact with a person carrying Covid-19.

“Since Covid-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread,” the companies said in a statement.

The system will be rolled out through a two-step plan. Next month will see companies release technology that will enable Android and iOS devices to exchange information using public health apps. If a person is suffering symptoms of or has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and adds that information to their public health app, people who have come in contact with that person can be notified.

The two companies will then work together to build the technology into their underlying platforms. The second stage will be an opt-in system, with the potential to reach more than three billion people.

“Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders,” the statement said.

Apple and Google said they would openly publish information about the work, allowing others to analyse it.

‘Important moment’

“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems,” the companies said in a statement. “ Through close co-operation 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.”

More than 100,000 people have died from the disease, which has infected people in over 200 countries. There are more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of the disease.