Apple and Google are undertaking an unprecedented team effort to build a system for Androids and iPhones to interoperate in the name of technology-assisted COVID-19 contact tracing. That system rolls out May 1 and will notify users if they have come into contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and uses the app.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted an article with Q&A about privacy issues. Their article begins as follows:
The companies’ plan is part of a torrent of proposals to use Bluetooth signal strength to enhance manual contact tracing with proximity-based mobile apps. As Apple and Google are an effective duopoly in the mobile operating system space, their plan carries special weight. Apple and Google’s tech would be largely decentralized, keeping most of the data on users’ phones and away from central databases. This kind of app has some unavoidable privacy tradeoffs, as we’ll discuss below, and Apple and Google could do more to prevent privacy leaks. Still, their model is engineered to reduce the privacy risks of Bluetooth proximity tracking, and it’s preferable to other strategies that depend on a central server.
Proximity tracking apps might be, at most, a small part of a larger public health response to COVID-19. This use of Bluetooth technology is unproven and untested, and it’s designed for use in smartphone apps that won’t reach everyone. The apps built on top of Apple and Google’s new system will not be a “magic bullet” technosolution to the current state of shelter-in-place. Their effectiveness will rely on numerous tradeoffs and sufficient trust for widespread public adoption. Insufficient privacy protections will reduce that trust and thus undermine the apps’ efficacy.
Click here to see full article: Apple and Google’s COVID-19 Exposure Notification API: Questions and Answers | Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Posted by Lewis J. Saret, Co-General Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.