Google and Apple Appease Privacy Concerns

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The Telegraph understands that when a user comes down with flu-like symptoms they will be able to answer questions in the app, which will diagnose the likelihood of them having Covid-19.

The joint project is created to utilize Bluetooth technology to enable the sharing of digital keys between devices in order to track who has been in close proximity of each other.

Now Google and Apple have updated their API to version 1.1, with one of the changes meant to reduce false positives. That API would be used in third-party apps that would require users to opt-in to the service. In addition, exposure notification is only done on the device and people who test positive are not identified by the system to other users, or to Apple or Google.

First, they are taking a step back from their original plan.

Both companies confirmed the longterm plans for the technology are to completely shut down the system after it is no longer need. This is reassuring because it emphasizes the point that this is a project designed exclusively to combat the pandemic.

The API encryption algorithm is changing from HMAC to AES.

While it is stated that the Bluetooth metadata will be encrypted, the keys that identify a smartphone will be reproduced randomly every day.

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The third big change is a branding one.

The system is now being referred to as an "Exposure Notification" technology and not "contact tracing" in an effort to more accurately describes the functionality, according to the two companies'.

Guidance from the ACLU and European Union on contact tracing comes on the heels of an initiative by Google and Apple, who partnered up to provide governments and health authorities with support on developing their own contact tracing apps. The companies were slow to release details, but observers still pointed out some potential privacy and security concerns.

Apple and Google announced Friday they are building in stronger privacy protections to its planned contact-tracing system for Covid-19 and that an early version of the initiative will launch for developers next week. Reuters reports that with Apple standing its ground, Germany has done a 180-degree turn and will now allow contact tracing data to be stored on individual handsets.

Chancellery Minister Helge Braun and Health Minister Jens Spahn told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Berlin would adopt a "decentralised" approach to digital contact tracing, in so doing abandoning a home-grown alternative.

While some Americans are emphatically protesting containment efforts, it is hard to see a scenario in which a contact tracing app is used on a wide enough scale to be effective.

Settlement about what stage of sign power or period of contact may end up in COVID-19 transmission and thus deserves a contact occasion shouldn't be uniform, and permitting native management of what constitutes a reputable menace permits native officers to deem what's greatest, not Apple or Google.

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