Apple and Google release APIs for contagion tracking apps

Apple and Google release APIs for contagion tracking apps

Apple and Google have released their cross-platform API for notification of contagions from Covid-19, which will have to lead to an acceleration in the development of apps that monitor people tested positive for coronavirus. Of course, since it is one very sensitive subject to privacy the two companies have compiled a list of requirements.

First, APIs can only be used for government app development to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, to detect any positive contacts to the virus it is not possible to use position detection, only Bluetooth.

No geolocation

Bluetooth can indeed work indoors and is sufficient to detect whether the user has been in the immediate vicinity of an infected person. There are some apps, released in some countries, that rely on geo-localization services: these will remain in the Google and Apple app stores but will not be able to use their APIs.
Once the app is installed, the user’s explicit consent will be required to transmit the positive test result or any related information. No other information can be transmitted in order to preserve users’ privacy.

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As for the tests, these must be associated with a unique number, which in turn will be used by the user to register for the app. Tests with a unique number must be approved by the official government body. This should prevent someone from passing on false test results that are not approved by public health agencies.

To avoid the fragmentation effect, each country should adopt only one app. However, in some cases a country may decide to use two different apps for areas and, in this case, Apple and Google will collaborate and make the appropriate app appear priority in the searches of users in this particular region.

The APIs will be made available only to developers officially appointed by local government agencies to create an app. Apple and Google will make the full source code available.

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