For many years Apple and Google have been competing among themselves in the market of mobile operating systems, smartphones, music services and in many other areas. However, the coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic made these companies temporarily forget about hostility and unite. They announced the creation of a joint contact tracking system to stop the spread of the disease.
At the time of writing the news, the number of cases of COVID-19 infection worldwide is about 1.7 million, of which more than half a million are in the United States. Therefore, it is not surprising that Apple and Google decided to join forces in the fight against coronavirus.
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The collaboration of the two tech giants will lead to the technology of tracking the spread of coronavirus. Corporations intend to introduce special APIs for iOS and Android by mid-May, allowing them to find out who the person infected with COVID-19 was in contact with.
Access to this data will be available to official applications of healthcare organizations, which will be available on the App Store and Google Play. However, this is a temporary measure, because after a few months the contact tracking technology will be integrated at the system level and by default will work on all devices running iOS and Android.
Tracking communications between people will be carried out through Bluetooth technology. Unlike other methods involving the use of GPS or data from mobile operators, in this case, there is no access to the location, which allows you to maintain confidentiality.
It is important that people who have identified a coronavirus will need to independently report this through a special application from a medical organization. After that, other users will be notified that they had contact with the infected. Smartphones will be able to exchange relevant information with each other at 5-minute intervals and store communications in a database.
To protect privacy, Apple and Google have provided that a special anonymous key is sent via Bluetooth, which changes every 15 minutes. Thus, it is not possible to determine the identity of the user when transmitting this data.
In addition, there will be no centrally accessible list of the owners of which devices are infected with COVID-19 since smartphones themselves perform cryptographic calculations. On the server-side, there is only a key database, but not interactions between them.