Apple and Google contact tracking API debuts
Apple and Google have served the developers' taste buds of their common programming interface for contact tracing applications.
|Would you install the contact tracking apps/api introduced by Apple and Google? Image: Techcrunch|
On the Apple side, the API called Exposure Notification has appeared in the latest beta of iOS 13.5 and Xcode (the manufacturer's development software). For Google, it is through beta of Google Play Services and Android Developer Studio that these tools are now available to developers. The final version is still expected in about two weeks.
However, only governments and health agencies will be able to use the API. If all developers can take a look at the API and start building contact tracking apps, only apps from governments and health authorities will be able to fully use it. Apple and Google do not intend to let anyone do anything with these tools, which in a way "liberate" Bluetooth.
Remember the principle: iOS and Android smartphones will be able to transmit Bluetooth signals in the background, saving the battery as much as possible. When a user has been in contact with a person contaminated with COVID-19, the application will notify him and suggest the sanitary measures to follow to break the chain of virus transmission.
Apple and Google have given a lot of thought to privacy. These signals, whose metadata are encrypted, incorporate random keys generated each day, which makes it impossible to associate a signal with a user. The API does not trace contacts beyond 30 minutes in order to avoid unwanted follow-ups. Health agencies will be able to determine the level of risk of transmission based on the distance between two users and the duration of contact.
Several countries should use this solution. However, most of the Government authorities seem set to develop such an application with their respective IT departments.
But are you ready to install such a contact tracking app?
Are smartphone users ready to install contact tracking apps to help stop the spread of Novel corona-virus (COVID-19), is the real question here.
The containment measures will gradually be lifted, but we will have to continue to respect the rules of social distancing and wear a mask on public transport (and if possible everywhere else). Another element that will break the virus's chain of transmission is “contacttracing”applications. But are users really ready to install such apps on their smartphones?
Close results between Europe and the United States
In Europe as in the United States, public opinions are divided. Several surveys conducted by various organizations suggest that approximate 46% of people say they are ready to activate such an application on their smartphones during the development phase. But note, it is not a majority, even if we approach it. The problem is vagueness that always surrounds this kind of tracing applications.
In the United States, an equivalent survey gives an almost similar result, this time with 50% of smartphone users saying that they will use a contact tracking app “probably ". Difficult under these conditions to predict how many people will end up installing and activating such an application.
The situation is even more complicated in the United States, where states, and even big cities, are responsible for their health policy. Under these conditions, it is quite possible that we see a myriad of applications appear which could even be incompatible with each other.
It also remains to find a solution for those who do not have smartphones. In Europe, connected bracelet projects are under consideration. But they will have to be produced and distributed, if possible at affordable prices. Many difficulties and obstacles, beyond technical and ethical problems are lies beneath the surface of data and personal privacy.
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