Coronavirus, Apple-Google: contact tracking system ready


Coronavirus infection tracking technology “is now in the hands of health authorities around the world, with whom we have worked and who will decide how to use it”. Apple and Google, which have been working together on the project since April 10, ‘stamp’ the contact tracking system that will serve to contain the Covid 19 pandemic.

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This means that the update for the operating systems (iOS and Android) will be available shortly, but the two companies in conference call have specified that at this point the national governments should be able to develop their applications in a dozen days.


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The system was requested by 22 countries, including Italy, where its formalization is a prelude to the launch of the Immuni app expected later this month, and the most popular smartphones (99%) are Android.The fundamental component of the system contact tracing is the notification of exposure to the infection that will use bluetooth and will be “voluntary, anonymous and with respect for privacy”.


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“We have collaborated to build contagion exposure notification technology that will allow apps from health authorities to work more accurately, reliably and effectively on both Android and iPhone phones. – reads the joint note from Apple and Google – In the latest weeks, our two companies worked together with health authorities, scientists, privacy organizations and government leaders from around the world to collect contributions and guidance. Exposure notification specifically targets early warning, which is especially important for slowing the spread of the disease since the virus can spread asymptomatically. “


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Bluetooth and consent

The two companies reiterate that the basis of the system is privacy, the use of bluetooth with low impact on the phone battery, voluntariness and anonymity. In particular, users must explicitly choose to activate them notifications exposure and can deactivate them at any time; the system does not collect or use the device location; it is users who decide if they want to report one positive diagnosis; the identity of users are not known to other users, Google or Apple; there correspondence for exposure notifications it is performed only on the device, under the user’s control.

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In the document accompanying the publication of the API there are also indications for governments: apps must be made only by national health systems; must ask users for consent to be used; they must ask users’ consent before sharing the result of their test at Covid-19, they must collect only the necessary data and these cannot be used precisely for profit; they must never request access to geolocation.In addition, the system is used only by official public health authorities and is not monetized. Google and Apple will shut down the system on a regional basis when it is no longer needed.

“Exposure notifications do not replace traditional contact tracking, but aim to increase those efforts,” conclude the two companies.



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“The contact tracking application uses operating systems provided by two groups at international level – comments the Minister for technological innovation and digitization Paola Pisano – because this increases its efficiency in a privacy protection framework. The possibility of making the Italian application interoperable with others used abroad also increases. The sharing of the codes of foreign citizens transmitted in forms that protect the privacy of users is facilitated “.

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