On Wednesday, tech giants Apple and Google released the initial components of their joint coronavirus contact tracing software to an exclusive group of global app developers.
The software tool goes by the name Application Programming Interface (API). It “will support apps created in partnerships with public health authorities that are expected to notify people who may have been in contact with those who have been infected with COVID-19,” reported Fox Business.
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The aim of the early release is to give opportunities to some app developers working with PHAs. They wanted to test the software and provide feedback before its official release in May.
“It’s worth noting that our principles and privacy assurances remain as strong as ever,” Apple and Google said in an announcement on April 24th. “The protections for users have only increased as a result of these updates,” they added. “We view our role as developing technology that assists with these efforts that public health authorities are undertaking.”
Using Apple-Google software, the apps will notify users when they have come in contact with COVID-19. It will do so without collecting or sharing information about their identities.
According to CNBC, apps that do “digital contact tracing,” or “exposure notification” will be powered by the software. The report also explains that the tech giants are not building the apps.
“They’re building technology into their market-leading smartphone operating systems, iOS and Android, to enable apps to use Bluetooth signals to determine their distance from other phones,” the report also mentioned.