Apple and Google Promise to Limit Access to Chinese Virus Tracing Tech

Tim Cook CEO of Apple laughing
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Tech giants Apple and Google, which together have near total control of the smartphone market, promise that only public health authorities will be able to access the companies’ new contact-tracing technology and governments will not be allowed to force people to use the technology.

Axios reports that Google and Apple have promised that only public health authorities will be able to create apps using the companies’ new contact-tracing technology. For the past two and a half weeks, the companies have been working together on a new smartphone-based system for notifying people if they were in contact with someone that tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.

While other agencies and countries have begun working on their own technologies to track those that have been in contact with coronavirus victims, Apple and Google stated that they wanted to create a system that would offer the maximum public health benefit while continuing to protect individual privacy.

Apple and Google allege that unlike other systems, theirs will not collect location information or identifying information about those that test positive for the coronavirus. They also require that a person consent to the data that the companies do collect on them. The companies claim that health authorities will be able to include a way to verify that someone tested positive such as a QR code from a health care provider, addressing concerns that people could falsely claim that they tested positive.

Google and Apple have both reportedly made changes to their mobile operating systems to allow the devices to exchange a private key with nearby smartphones via  Bluetooth, logging when users come into close proximity. If an individual tests positive for the Wuhan coronavirus and enters that information into an app, 14 days’ worth of their contacts with other users is sent to a server.

The phones regularly check if any recently encountered individuals have been reported as infected and alerts users if so with a notification. The notification states that someone they have been in contact with has tested positive and provides them with more information. This system is running on mobile devices running iOS 13 or on any version of the Android operating system from 2015 on.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address


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