Germany snubs Apple and Google's contact tracing technology


"The potential privacy concerns surrounding these contact tracing solutions should remind governments developing them that the security community will scrutinise these apps more than any app in recent years", Schweisshelm told IANS.

Austria's Red Cross, whose Stopp Corona contact tracing app was the first to go live in Europe last month and has been downloaded 400,000 times, said this week it would upgrade its architecture and was leaning towards adopting DP-3T.

The Apple-Google contact tracing system uses Bluetooth to identify and list phones users in your circle and if owner of one of those phones gets infected with COVID-19, you will receive an alert.

In Europe, most countries have chosen short-range Bluetooth "handshakes" between devices as the best approach, dismissing the alternative of using location data pursued by some countries in Asia as intrusive.

- Will it be able to do anything else?

The companies said they made these changes after discussions with governments and public health app developers.

It said the extra data could be used to help identify hotspots and trends around the virus and its transmission. Such monitoring would open the way to greater state surveillance, say privacy experts.

Coronavirus UK - Hospital death toll from Covid-19 rises to 14,576
Hancock was also questioned by lawmakers about the daily death toll data - which gives hospital deaths but ignores deaths at home or in care homes.

A planned app will mean the United Kingdom government can conduct "large scale" contact tracing, once cases have fallen further, the health secretary has said. But the companies plan to eventually embed the technology into the Android and iOS operating systems, too.

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. "With a decentralized system, you have to trust Apple and Google".

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.

Apple and Google have started to refer to this system as "exposure notification" technology instead of contact tracing. There are billions of smartphones still out in the world that simply don't have the BLE chips in them.

A date for the app's release has not been confirmed and it remains in the development and testing phase.

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

According to the BBC, the health secretary Matt Hancock speaking today in the House of Commons, said that the trials "are going well".