In response to the current situation of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Google teams up with Apple to develop a contact-tracing API. The idea behind this team-up of the two giants is to provide a useful tool that will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They hope that this contact-tracing API will help to provide a certain degree of normality into society’s life. Unfortunately, there is a strong concern about access to personal info as well as location tracking. Privacy is a serious matter concerning this supposedly useful API from Google and Apple.
Facing that concern about privacy, both Google and Apple ensured that the Exposure Notification will leave the use of all data within the grasp of each user. The contact tracing API is a decentralized solution with free choices to make by the users. An example of that is the decision whether to let others know about a user’s contact and travel history to other users or not. Even if the user is positively diagnosed with COVID-19, it remains free for them to let others know or the other way around. The initial version of the API has been released along with guidelines on how to properly function it.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post alongside the University of Maryland released a poll with the fact that shows half of the respondents most likely will not use the contact-tracing API from Google and Apple. The problem is that only 43% of the responders trust a software like the one developed by Google and Apple for this matter. Most of them trust either public health agencies or health insurance firms. According to that poll, at least 60% of the population needs to use the software for it to be working properly. Unfortunately, the poll concluded that only 41% of the population in the US has the technical knowledge and the will to use the software.
Some governments even consider developing their contact-tracing solution instead of using the one developed by Google and Apple. UK, Australia, and France are all thinking to create a solution on their own to track their people. Google and Apple agreed to help any country to do such a thing. They are willing to help as long as there is only one app to be uploaded officially to both the App Store of Apple and Play Store of Android. The idea remains the same that they both agreed to support the development of a centralized contact-tracing app for an individual country.
Google and Apple continue to develop the contact-tracing API while assuring everyone about the decentralized state of the software. It is guaranteed by both Google and Apple that no companies and governments getting any data from the application unless the user says so. The latest way of Apple and Google to ensure people about this contact-tracing application is by explaining their plan to use a privacy-preserving identifier to eliminate any link to a user’s identity while using the app and record personal information within the app.