While the new pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19) advances, several countries are now running out of time to solve the problems caused by the virus and also to prevent an explosion of new infections. In this scenario, several governments are launching (or are about to launch) exposure alert apps so that the population has one more tool at hand.
As we reported, the Apple it’s the Google came together to create an API that offers precisely this type of alert, which has been adopted by several countries. More recently, United Kingdom, Canada and Japan supported the technology of the technology giants, as we will see below.
After sitting on the fence about whether or not to adopt the Apple and Google APIs, the UK opted for this solution instead of a local app against COVID-19. The information is BBC.
According to the government, the solution of the technology giants is more “focused on privacy”. On the other hand, this also means that epidemiologists will have access to less data about the pandemic with the use of the API.
The app should be launched by September this year but, according to the information, it will not have the option of exposure alert initially. Instead, the software may be limited to allowing users to report their symptoms and request tests for COVID-19.
Baroness Dido Harding, who leads the app’s launch program, will only give the green light to deploy the technology if / when she deems it suitable for the purpose, which she does not believe is the case at the moment.
What we did by rigorously testing the app for COVID-19 and the Apple-Google API is to demonstrate that none of them are working well enough to be really reliable to determine if any of us should isolate ourselves for two weeks or if that applies worldwide.
In response, Google noted that it developed, in partnership with Apple, only one API to alert users of possible exposure, and not a complete app – the set of functions and procedures of the platform must be defined and implemented by each government or official health agency.
On Harding’s team, however, is Simon Thompson – former director of the Apple Store Online at EMEA -, who could give a hand in implementing this feature. However, as seen in another report by BBC, the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Minister of Innovation, Lord Bethell, said the exposure alert «is not a priority» and will therefore hardly be implemented in the coming months.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also confirmed that the country’s exposure alert app will feature technology from Apple and Google. The software was developed jointly by Shopify, BlackBerry and the Ontario government, where testing will begin shortly.
Trudeau said the application is expected to be launched nationally in early July.
While some countries are studying the possibilities surrounding exposure alert technology, Japan took the lead and launched its exposure alert app for iOS and Android today, as reported by The Verge.
The app is based on the Apple and Google APIs, and uses Bluetooth to help determine if users have contacted someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The software also maintains an encrypted record of the time, date, distance and duration of any close contact with other people who use the app, but does not share data that can identify them, such as geographic location and phone numbers.
Although its listing on the App Store and Google Play only shows “COVID-19 Contact App”, Japan refers to the app as COCOA, an acronym for “Covid-19 Contact Confirmation Application”, or COVID-19 Contact Confirmation Application.
Interestingly, the software was developed by Microsoft engineers, who were hired in May, after conditions at Google and Apple prompted the government to abandon work done by a Tokyo team in favor of a larger company.
via 9to5Mac, iPhone in Canada