Apple, Google show what their exposure notification system could look like

The companies have also shared sample codes, interfaces for both Android and iOS

| Updated on: May 05 2020, 19:05 IST
(Apple | Google)
(Apple | Google)

Apple and Google have shared more information about their automatic exposure notification system. This includes some sample interface designs for potential apps as well as the restrictions on how this contact tracing system will be used.

Announced on April 10, Apple and Google's system tracks potential Covid-19 cases through Bluetooth Low Energy signals, "allowing for retroactive exposure notifications while using encrypted keys to preserve non-exposed users' privacy".

The companies have also pledged that they will discontinue the system as soon as the pandemic is over.

The interface samples give us an idea of how these notifications will work and exactly how companies plan to ensure "proactive consent". To be used by developers, these samples show how specific alerts will appear and when certain API calls should be made. Apple and Google have also shared a library of reference code (an SDK for Android and an Xcode toolkit for iOS), which they hope will "serve as 'a starting gun for app development by public health agencies". Representatives have still clarified though that the code itself was "not meant to ever ship as an application".

Also Read: Apple, Google ban use of location tracking in contact tracing apps

It was announced that Apple and Google's solution would be restricted to only one public health app per country and the companies have not named any specific public-sector partners but have said they have been "proactively approached by multiple governments because of their unique operating system-level access to the Bluetooth systems in smartphones".

But the wording of the principle leaves the door open for countries like the US where the response is not a country-wise unified one, instead it is led by states. "If a country has opted for a regional or state approach," the restriction reads, "the companies are prepared to support those authorities."

Also Read: Apple, Google Covid-19 tool will be limited to one app per country

The companies have also laid out six specific principles that public-sector partners would be expected to uphold. "Most notably, the apps can only be used for Covid-19 response efforts, will be restricted from using Location Services, and require opt-in consent before accessing the API or sharing a positive diagnosis. They also will not allow any form of targeted advertising in the resulting apps; any existing apps using targeted advertising or location services will need to turn off those systems before they access the API".

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First Published Date: 05 May, 17:14 IST