Google and Apple’s joint venture – contact tracking app has been in news since the time it was announced. Where some countries are waiting for it eagerly some out rightly denied using it. During this fiasco, Apple and Google shared examples of what these apps might look like. This means both companies aren’t developing contact tracing apps but they are providing resources for developers working on it.
In an announcement made on Monday, both companies released their Exposure Notification API known as Contact Tracing API and mentioned that health authorities will not track location nor can they use data to advertise.
What is Exposure Notification API?
Exposure Notification API renamed by Google as Contact Tracing API offers UI assets, and sample codes for both iOS and Android users. Released last week along with beta updates of Xcode and iOS they will reflect the actual use and purpose of the app.
It is just the starting point that can be used by the developers to work on behalf of public health agencies. In addition to this, certain new policies are also being released.
What is the purpose of other policies?
The new policies released by companies are to make sure that developers adhere to them. In the absence of not following them, the apps will not be approved. These include:
- It must be developed or used by official agencies, public health authorities.
- Should only be used for the sole purpose of responding to COVID-19.
- Users consent should be asked before employing and using API
- The user’s consent is required to share and broadcast positive test results with the public health authority using the app.
- Only required information should be collected and used for the purpose of COVID-19. These apps cannot use the information for advertising or any other purposes.
- These apps cannot seek permission to access the device’s Location Services that provide geolocation data. This means the apps using the latest Exposure Notification API will be forbidden from collecting location data.
- One app per country for better efficiency. However, if the country wants to work with a state-based approach, they are willing to help authorities.
When will this app be live?
Both companies are targeting mid-May to release a public version of the API.
This clearly shows both Apple and Google are working hard to help public health agencies. Not only this, they are emphasizing giving maximum control to government agencies to help people. Exposure Notification API is designed in such a manner that developers can adjust the details as the requirement and can still preserve privacy.
Apple and Google have made sure that no one is able to collect location data or use it for advertisement purposes. Contact Tracing app will only collect the data required to know if a person is infected. In addition to this to check if the information is right, users will have to provide test code. This will certainly help identify infected patients at earliest and they can be treated.