The continuous surge of the COVID-19 disease has made it harder for States to trace those who had close contact with persons carrying the virus. Thankfully, we are in an era where technologies are advancing real fast.
Two of the tech giants have come up on Tuesday, a new technology that sends alerts to people who may have had close contact with a carrier.
It was in April when Google and Apple were reported to be rolling out a technology that detects nearby devices through Bluetooth signals. Smartphones will be able to send alerts to users whenever they had contact with a carrier using the signal.
Users will have an option to download the app and participate to use the new tool. If a user was tested positive of the virus, the person could enter the positive result on the system. Then, an individual authentication code will be sent to the user.
If those who are positive opted in, when people who are registered in the system went near the COVID-19 carrier, the technology will send alerts to the phone owners.
Google and Apple addressed the innovation as a “next step in our work with public health authorities. The tech giants' added that the technology would help "supplement their existing contact tracing operations with technology without compromising on the project’s core tenets to user privacy and security.”
People who opt in to use the said tool need not worry about their privacy. The technology will not be tracking its users’ locations or collect personal health information. The tech giants emphasize that the “exposure notification express” is designed to protect users’ privacy and security.
Google and Apple announced that the digital tracking system will be rolling out in partnership and collaboration with public health workers and several states. According to the tech giants, countries like Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Nevada, and 25 other countries are looking to utilize the technology.
In European countries such as Germany, Ireland, and Denmark, they have already launched apps that use the technology, attracting millions of people to download the apps.
The technology will be available as soon as the public-health authorities provide parameters to Google and Apple. The notification will be based on the distance needed to toggle the alerts given by the authorities. Afterwhich the companies will then build an app using the system.
Although the innovation is notable and a great tool to fight against the pandemic, there are still doubts from security researchers. Some of the experts are saying that the feature could be used for false alerts.
The deployment of the “exposure notification express” worries Ashkan Soltani, a security researcher. He said that he “continues to worry about rapidly deploying new technology to nearly everyone’s device. "
"especially when the decision to do so isn’t done by policymakers but unilaterally by those platforms," Soltani added.