EU hints at adoption of Apple and Google's contact tracing solution

Apple Google Partner On Covid 19 Contact Tracing Technology
Apple Google Partner On Covid 19 Contact Tracing Technology (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • European nations may adopt Apple and Google's contact tracing technology.
  • That's according to a report from Reuters.
  • The platform is due to be launched in May.

A Reuters report claims that Apple and Google's collaborative effort on contact tracing technology may be adopted in Europe.

According to the report:

An Apple collaboration with Google will make it quicker to get systems for tracing coronavirus infections up and running, the prime mover behind a European effort to support the smartphone technology says.Technologists are racing to use Bluetooth short-range communications between devices as a proxy for measuring the risk that a person infected with the coronavirus can pass it on.Apple (AAPL.O) and Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google said last week that they would launch tools to support such applications in May, with full integration of Bluetooth contact tracing functions into their operating systems to follow.

The report notes that camps are divided however on the use of a decentralized, or centralized approach to the use of sensitive data. The report continues:

But a divide has opened up between supporters of decentralized systems - including Apple and Google - and advocates of a centralised approach in which sensitive data is held on a server. The latter includes some governments, raising concerns that they could put citizens under surveillance.

One alternative contact-tracing option could be PEPP-PT, developed with German company Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and some other countries. Its advocates say that a centralized model could offer "better pandemic management potential without infringing privacy". However one also conceded that it should be up to countries to device, and that a decentralized model could also work, but would involve moving more data around.

It is expected that at least 60% of the population would need to download any official contact-tracing app in order for it to be effective.

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Stephen Warwick