Covid-19: Apple, Google to shut down the coronavirus tracker once it is contained
While Apple and Google are working on using your smartphone's Bluetooth and location tracking to determine Covid-19 effected people around you, they will also be turning off this tech once the disease is contained. This has been mentioned in the 'Frequently Asked Questions' document released by Apple. The shutdown of the service will take place on a region-by-region basis. However, it is unclear how it will be decided if the pandemic has been contained in that region or not. Nonetheless, the engineers have confirmed that the APIs for the tech are not supposed to be maintained indefinitely.
Under the section of 'How will the system protect user privacy and security?' the document clearly mentions that "Google and Apple can disable the exposure notification system on a regional basis when it is no longer needed." But the choice to use this technology totally depends upon the user and he/she can turn it off at any time by uninstalling the contact tracing app or turning off exposure notification in Settings.
The document however, re-affirmed that this tech won't collect location data from the device and won't share identities of other users to each other. In addition, the Bluetooth privacy-preserving beacons rotate every 10-20 minutes in order to prevent tracking.
A couple of days ago Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed some more technical details about their efforts indicating towards the fact that they are fast-tracking the work. Amongst other changes made to the API, Apple and Google will be providing developers to make apps with stronger encryption standards and more accurate Bluetooth signals.
According to Apple and Google, the changes are "the result of meaningful engagement and feedback from key external stakeholders around the world" and the announcements mostly revolve around cryptography and Bluetooth specifications in the API.