Apple-Google Jointly Developed Coronavirus Tracker App Platform  

Two tech giants, Apple and Google are in a joint venture to develop an app platform that can trace coronavirus infected people around and with the help of this digital technology, several individuals can avoid the contraction of the virus from the infected people.

One of the key challenges in containing the virus was that the COVID-19 can be easily spread from people who show no symptoms. European leaders considered Apple-Google’s initiative as a crucial step that could prevent the virus from transmitting at a large scale and break the chain of infections.

Apple-Google’s Coronavirus Tracker App

The two tech giants are developing an app by using Bluetooth short-range communications between devices as a proxy for measuring the risk involved in a person infected with the coronavirus and the possibility that the virus could be passed on. Apple and Google said last week that the application, which would be fully equipped with Bluetooth contact tracing functions into their operating systems, would be launched in the month of May.

Chris Boos, who is the key advocator of the Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT technology platform, explained that the app would help to strengthen the process of identifying the virus carriers. Boos, the founder of German business process automation startup Arago, said in written answers to Reuters, “We need to worry less about operating system stability and device calibration.”

Analysts explained that such innovative digital technology could assist people with targeted warnings to see their doctors or self-isolate, which might reduce the need for lockdowns that have caused huge economic disruption. Bluetooth advocates said, “It would be a more accurate and less intrusive way of logging the closeness and duration of personal contacts than location tracking based on networks or satellites.”

Decentralized Versus Centralized Systems

One key challenge regarding the introduction of the new digital technology was that the two giants were supporters of decentralized systems while those who advocated a centralized approach including some government departments raised the concerns of violating the privacy of the citizens by the companies. Meanwhile, PEPP-PT, being developed in partnership with Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and technologists from other European countries, shared a view that it would support both models.

Nevertheless, Boos explained “A centralized model offers such much better pandemic management potential without infringing privacy,” adding that, “But it should be a country’s choice. You can gather the same data on top of a decentralized model – it just means more people have to move data on infected people.”

Currently, PEPP-PT is under close observation by Germany’s cybersecurity watchdog but got support from some key leaders in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. Citing that PEPP-PT would be releasing progress update on Friday, experts said, at least 60% of the population needed to download the app to help achieve so-called digital herd immunity that would endorse and run an official contact-tracing app on PEPP-PT.

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