Covid-19: in pictures, Apple and Google set the rules for their population tracking technology

The “contact tracing” process developed by Apple and Google is ready to be integrated into applications for installation on iPhone and Android smartphones. But Apple and Google set rules and detail how they work.

Absent from StopCovid, whose release could finally take place on June 2 during the second phase of deconfinement, the population tracking technology developed by Apple and Google is becoming more and more concrete since the first visuals were put online, as well only code snippets. For Apple and Google , this is to show different governments and health organizations what their applications will look like if they opt for this “decentralized” solution, but also to specify the framework and constraints.

We remind you, Apple and Google assure that this is a simple function to add, whose name is “  ExposureNotification  ”. Ideally, it will soon be integrated into the next iOS and Android versions , and developers of “population tracking” applications will therefore be able to rely on it. But not just anyone, or how …

Thus, applications must be developed by a government and / or health authority and only concern the current crisis related to the outbreak of coronavirus . No question therefore that an editor uses this function for other purposes, without link with a State or a health organization. Another constraint for developers: the blocking of geolocation ( GPS chip ) since only Bluetooth is used.

User consent required

Then, these applications must necessarily offer an ”  opt-in  ” function, and therefore the user’s consent is required to activate the “ExposureNotification” function necessary for population monitoring. In the same way, these applications will have to ask for the user’s agreement before sharing a possible positive test, anonymously, with the rest of the population.

What we see in the visuals is that simplicity is essential. Some windows are necessary to launch and adjust the application, and the possible contact with a sick person displays a notification with dates. The user is then invited to be tested, and if he is positive, he can integrate his case in the ”  database  “. We also see in the visuals that you have to enter a six-digit code, no doubt given by the local health authority, which authenticates the test and thus avoids any “false positive” or malicious use. 

The fact of declaring its “positivity” to the Covid-19 test will obviously result in sending a notification to the people who will have installed the application, and will have been in contact with this person. Apple and Google ensure that the entire procedure remains completely anonymous, and that the “keys” exchanged between smartphones via Bluetooth  are not stored on an external server . This means that an alerted person will not be able to know the identity of the person, or the place where he or she came across him. Likewise, the application will be unable to identify the person, and the anonymous data will then be deleted.