Apple and Google on Friday said they were teaming up to roll out software to enable tracing of CCP virus cases.
The software will alert people who were recently in contact with confirmed cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Bluetooth technology, which can be used to look at the location of a phone, will be utilized in the effort. People will be given a choice to opt into the “broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform” that the companies estimate will be ready in the coming months.
Apple and Google promised to keep privacy, consent, and transparency at the forefront, adding in a statement: “We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze.”
Until the broader effort is ready, the companies plan on releasing application programming interfaces and operating technology to assist in contact tracing. The interfaces will “enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities,” according to the companies.
Contact tracing refers to public health efforts to isolate patients with the CCP virus and quickly identify everyone they’ve been in contact with for testing and quarantine. Early efforts at stopping the spread of the virus revolved around contact tracing but those efforts were reduced after cases began rising rapidly in the United States.
Plans to re-open parts of the country feature contact tracing along with ramped up testing, including testing to see who has had the virus before, indicating likely immunity.
President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that federal officials will take a look at the new plans, noting: “A lot of people worry about it in terms of a person’s freedoms.”