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Google and Apple adjust coronavirus tracking app to get ahead of privacy concerns

Google and Apple are the biggest players and competitors when it comes to smartphone operating systems. However recently, in lieu of the conditions created by the Global Pandemic that is coronavirus these companies have come together to work on a software that would enable users to tell if they have come in contact with a virus afflicted person in the recent 14 days.

To achieve this, the smartphones communicate with each other via Bluetooth radio, the phones keep track of everyone else a person has come in contact with and when someone is confirmed to have the coronavirus these smartphones send signals to all other people, they came in contact within the last 14 days.

To address the privacy concerns of the people the companies have made this feature an opt-in, meaning that it won’t be turned on by default, and people can choose to turn it on. This may affect the efficiency of the system; the companies are unsure as to how many minimum people need to opt-in for it to make it effective but experts say that at least half of the population of the world has to. The companies have also changed the term from “contact tracing” to “exposure notification” as the former seems to be more privacy interfering. The program will now also use better encryption and security overall to prevent tracking and leaking of consumer data.

Furthermore, the companies have promised to discontinue the Application Programming Interface (API) once the pandemic passes.

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