Apple and Google collaborate on COVID-19 contact tracing know-how
In the spirit of cooperation Google and AppleBoth technology companies have announced joint efforts to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health authorities reduce the spread of the virus, with the focus on user privacy and security.
Governments and health authorities around the world are working to find solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, protect people and get society back on track. Software developers contribute by developing technical tools to fight the virus and save lives.
Because COVID-19 can be transmitted through proximity to affected people, public health organizations have identified contact tracking as a valuable tool to curb its spread. A number of leading health authorities, universities and NGOs around the world have done important work to develop opt-in contact tracking technology.
To promote this, Apple and Google will bring a comprehensive solution to the market that includes APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and technologies at the operating system level to enable contact tracking. Given the urgent need, it is planned to implement this solution in two steps while ensuring a strong protection of user privacy.
Initially, both companies will release APIs in May that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using health agency apps. These official apps are available for users to download from their respective app stores.
Second, Apple and Google will work in the coming months to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracking platform by integrating this functionality into the underlying platforms. This is a more robust solution than an API and would allow more people to participate if they choose to sign up, as well as interact with a wider ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.
Data protection, transparency and consent are of the utmost importance. Apple and Google are looking forward to developing this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders. Companies openly post information about their work so others can analyze it.
Apple and Google believe that there has never been a more important moment to solve one of the world's most pressing problems. By working closely with developers, governments and public health providers, both companies hope to use the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.