Tech giants Apple and Google are rolling out their coronavirus contact tracing app to at least 23 countries.
The Silicon Valley titans claim that their coronavirus contact tracing app is also rolling out to a number of U.S. states. Government health institutions can now use Apple and Google’s technologies and embed them into their own apps. The use of these technologies is still subject to approval from the two tech giants.
Many health experts agree that contact tracing is one of the most effective strategies in curbing the spread of coronavirus. This strategy aims to track down all people who may have been in contact with a person that tests positive for the virus.
Apple and Google’s Coronavirus tracking system must have technology principles that ensure privacy in their design.https://t.co/g63FW6Jhyr
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 18, 2020
Contact tracing has been especially successful in limiting the spread of diseases like HIV and Ebola. Now, tech companies are helping governments implement contact tracing apps using various tech solutions.
Massive adoption scale
The tech giants confirm that at least 22 governments from five continents apply to access to their technologies. On top of that, a number of American states also ask to use said technologies.
The tech giants emphasize that their apps need a massive adoption rate for them to be truly effective. Which is why they express quite a bit of concern when other nations did not opt to participate. Most notable of this is France and the United Kingdom. These two countries have some of the most numbers of reported coronavirus cases in the world.
The two European countries have expressed their concern about the app from Apple and Google. The two countries claim that the tech giants might use the data harvested from users to other purposes. Instead of relying on these two tech giants, some countries are building their own contact tracing app.
In a statement, Apple and Google said:
“What we’ve built is not an app – rather, public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better.”
Privacy concerns and data security
Privacy watchdogs express their concern over how these techs will treat user data. With rising concerns over companies selling user data to advertisers, institutions are getting wary about these possibilities.
However, it is important to note that these contact tracers will be marginally effective if many people are using it. One successful implementation of contact tracing apps happens in South Korea. Now, the Asian county is hailed as a success story in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
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