Google and Apple said that they would ban location tracking in CoVid-19 related apps. These CoVid-19 related apps use the latest contact tracing system being built by the two giants to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. This comes as 99% of the smartphones use either Google or Apple OS.
Apple-Google Collaboration to ban the use of GPS Location
In a statement last month the two giants said that, as most of the smartphones use either Google or Apple’s OS, the two are willing to work together to notify people who have been near to those who have been tested positive for the novel Coronavirus. Also, they said that they are planning to allow only public health authorities to use this latest tech.
The new tech uses Bluetooth signals from phones to identify health history and does not store or use any location data. Both the giants said that refraining governments from using the system to collect data on citizens and privacy are their primary goals.
Many of the official coronavirus-related apps in a number of US states opined that GPS location data should be available as it would help in tracking the coronavirus outbreak and also help in identifying the hotspots.
The decision of Apple and Google to ban location tracking with their contact tracing system requires public health authorities — who want to access GPS location data — to depend on something which was described as battery draining workarounds and also unstable by both the giants sometime before.
Android devices and iPhones turn off Bluetooth connections after some time in order to save battery and other device performance issues until users reactivate Bluetooth. With this turning off, the alternatives to the measure would surely miss some of the encounters.
Some app developing companies like Twenty and others said they would adhere to their own approach.
Twenty a software company developed a Healthy Together contact tracing app from the state of Utah. The company said that its app Healthy Together works efficiently without the new tool from Apple-Google collaboration. Twenty also said that “If the approach of Apple-Google collaboration is more efficient than our present one, then we are happy to incorporate the features into our app. But, the new tool should meet the specifications of the public health partners.”
ABTraceTogether app developed by Alberta province of Canada also does not collect location data in it, and it is not interested in adopting the new Apple-Google collaboration tool.
The two giants’ collaboration said that they would allow only one application per country to use the contract system. This measure was taken to encourage wider adoption and avoid fragmentation.
A cache related to public health issues would make individuals and businesses vulnerable to get banned if the health data is leaked. This came as a warning from the privacy experts.
Only time will tell what’s going to happen about the collaboration and its new tool.