Google, Apple approach govt to use contact-tracing API in Aarogya Setu

Image Credit Hitesh Sonar for The Swaddle  Pngimg

This message is referring to the COVID-19 contact tracing system that Apple and Google were collectively working on to enable exposure notifications on both Android and iPhone devices.

However, the API will not function in India as the Centre's COVID app-Aarogya Setu-is not compatible with the "Exposure Notification" solution.

The two main differences between Aarogya Setu app and an app based on Google-Apple API are going to be related to effectiveness and privacy. "What we have built is not an app - rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apple that people install", the companies said in a release. These terms and conditions empower the users to explicitly opt-in to use the technology, prevent collection or use of location data from the device, etc. Aarogya Setu doesn't meet many of those tenets which means it can't work with Google and Apple's exposure notification API. However, permission to use location in Aarogya Setu app gives it access to users' movement.

According to news reports, only 19 countries - Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay have released applications that connect with Apple-Google's feature.

Even during the developing phase of the API, both Google and Apple had emphasised on the privacy standards the Exposure Notification tool would follow.

To use the system, download the public health authority's app, it may or may not be available in your country.

What in the event you are available in contact with a COVID-19 affected person?

"Your phone uses Bluetooth to securely collect and share random IDs with other phones that are nearby".

Google and Apple are also working to implement COVID-19 tracking within their respective operating systems. The NHS contact-tracing app was buffeted with technical glitches, including failure to detect Bluetooth signals and thus contacts, and complaints by privacy advocates. This way, all the contacts will be notified of the next steps. The user controls all data he/she wants to share. All of the exposure notification matchings happen on your device, which means only you and your app know if you report having COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who has reported having COVID-19. This will hopefully allow users in India to make the most out of what Google and Apple have come up with (if they're interested) but until then, the rollout makes little sense here.

This year, on April 10, Google and Apple announced a two-phase exposure notification solution that uses Bluetooth technology on mobile devices to aid in contact tracing efforts.



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