Apple and Google team up to fight COVID-19

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The two tech giants teamed up to solve one of the world's most distressing problems

Logo of the Apple and Google brand.

The two brands decided to unite to help face the battle against the coronavirus. / Photos: Unsplash - Laurenz Heymann, Paweł Czerwiński

LatinAmerican Post | Michell Valdez

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Leer en español: Apple y Google se unen para combatir el COVID-19

Many efforts are being made from different areas to curb the health crisis caused by COVID-19. Without a doubt, science and technology play a fundamental role when it comes to stopping the pandemic. To the point that the companies Apple and Google have announced the union of their iOS and Android operating systems in a single platform for tracking the coronavirus.

Detailed information can be seen on the Apple website. The statement expresses the joint effort between the two companies to allow the use of Bluetooth technology with the firm intention of helping governments and health agencies to reduce the spread of the virus.

To achieve its purpose, Apple and Google will launch a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs ) and technology at the operating system level to enable contact tracking, the statement reflects. The plan is "to implement this solution in two steps, always maintaining strong measures to protect the privacy of the user."

What are the steps?

The report reveals that, in the month of May, both companies will launch APIs that “allow interoperability between Android and iOS devices using applications from public health authorities. These will be available for users to download through their respective app stores. "

It also reveals that in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracking platform by incorporating this functionality into the underlying platforms. They claim that this second step is "a more robust solution than an API and would allow more people to participate, if they choose to do so, as well as interaction with a broader ecosystem of applications and government health authorities."

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What will happen to the privacy and security of users?

In this statement they express that privacy, transparency and consent are of utmost importance in this initiative. “We hope to build this functionality by consulting with interested parties. We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze. ”

Apple and Google felt that there has never been a more important time to work together and solve one of the world's most alarming problems. They hope, through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments, and public health providers, to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world curb the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return to everyday life.

Pioneer countries

The technology known as contact tracking, has already been put into practice in countries such as China, South Korea and also implemented in Spain with the collaboration of Google. It was designed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

It is believed that the tool resulting from the union between Google and Apple will function as a notification system. That is, if a user tests positive for Covid-19 and adds that data to their public health application, the users they have approached in the last few days will be notified. This period could be 14 days, but health agencies can set the time range.

Serious doubts

The approach that has already been carried out in Asian countries raises serious questions about the privacy of user information, something that Apple and Google say they have been able to mitigate through the use of Bluetooth.