'Large scale' contact tracing in United Kingdom via app, says minister

'Large scale' contact tracing in United Kingdom via app, says minister

Additionally, this feature won't work on any Android device within China itself. The companies were slow to release details, but observers still pointed out some potential privacy and security concerns.

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Google is building the contact tracking system built into Android software, and has uniquely teamed up with Apple, its longtime rival, to bring the update to most phones. The duo, according to The Verge, committed shutting the system down absolutely while the pandemic ends.

One of the big new changes is to encrypt the metadata that gets shared via Bluetooth.

Secondly, Apple and Google announced that the metadata associated with Bluetooth will be encrypted, making it more hard for someone to try and use it to identify a person, "for example, by associating the transmit power with a particular model of phone" or the version number of the protocol the phone is running. It was initially announced that phones would produce a fixed identifying key from which other random daily keys would be derived.

- What is Apple and Google's involvement?

Tools for public health apps to add contact tracing to their own apps will launch publicly in mid-May after an early "beta" version of the software is released to developers next week.

The prime minister also confirmed the app's data storage would use Amazon Web Services but said its server was in Australia and the company had previously worked with the government on "many, many sensitive issues".

While there is a myriad of contact tracing initiatives that have been announced worldwide, the system built by Google and Apple, that will make use of billions of existing smartphones and enable cross-communication, seems to be the most practical solution.

Both companies said that the API will also be able to share the amount of time an exposure lasted, starting at a minimum of 5 minutes and moving up to a maximum of 30 minutes.

Google isn't the only company working on such an app. Apple also has similar plans for its iPhones.

Germany also called on Apple to support the app being developed by research group Fraunhofer HHI for the Robert Koch Institute, the federal agency that is coordinating the national health policy response to coronavirus.

The EU says that it will only approve Google and Apple's contact tracing technology for a limited period of time in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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