Apple, Google Boost Privacy Protections for Contact-Tracing Tool

Hundreds of academics back privacy-friendly coronavirus contact tracing apps		
		
	Zack Whittaker

			@zackwhittaker	 
		8 hours

Hundreds of academics back privacy-friendly coronavirus contact tracing apps Zack Whittaker @zackwhittaker 8 hours

Additionally, this feature won't work on any Android device within China itself.

While the ACLU doesn't expressly oppose apps that use data from people's phones to trace the spread of the virus, the organization says in a recent advisory that implementation will require a greater level of consent from users - especially when it comes to how their data is shared.

The app will then advise what action to take, including telling people to self-isolate if necessary.

It is "the responsibility of companies such as Apple to do their utmost to develop suitable technical solutions to make the national apps work". The companies would also "protect" any identifiable records about a person's mobile phone, along with which model of cellphone they are using or the signal strength of their transmissions.

- How will user privacy be protected? NHSX insists that the data will only be used for NHS care, management, evaluation and research, and users will be able to delete the app and associated data whenever they want.

Google is building the contact tracking system built into Android software, and has uniquely teamed up with Apple, its longtime rival, to bring the update to most phones.

Apple is also fighting a French government demand to change the privacy settings of its phones to make them compatible with France's planned contact tracing app.

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Apple and Google said the application will be opt-in, CNET reported.

Breton said the two companies' technology cooperation must comply with the bloc's guidelines on the use of only anonymised data with the user's consent and for a temporary period.

The system is now being referred to as an "Exposure Notification" technology and not "contact tracing" in an effort to more accurately describes the functionality, according to the two companies'.

Apple and Google said that trust and privacy are crucial to the apps as they need as many people as possible to choose in for the tracking capabilities. There are billions of smartphones still out in the world that simply don't have the BLE chips in them.

We expect standalone apps to arrive in the Play Store and App Store in the next few weeks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said contact tracing works best when the number of infections figure is greatly reduced.

Concerns over privacy mirror a strained history between tech giants like Google and the European Union which have been punctuated by legal battles over antitrust behavior and consumer privacy.

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