The system, which Apple and Google are calling exposure notification, involves anonymous Bluetooth keys exchanged between phones to track potential contact with the coronavirus causing COVID-19. The companies are collaborating on an interoperable API which should be released this month. But the two tech giants won’t be the ones building the actual apps — that falls to national or regional public health agencies. Apple and Google can therefore build privacy into their API regardless of what varying political regimes may want to do once this functionality rolls out globally.
Last week, the two companies seeded the API to developers in preparation for a full rollout. In the months to come, exposure notification functionality may be built into operating systems, allowing them to be sent out without the use of separate app. And once the pandemic is over, Google and Apple have said they’ll disable the system.
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