Ireland's contact tracing app is so effective the U.S. wants it too

Apple and Google Logo
Apple and Google Logo (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Ireland's contact tracing app is so successful other countries would like to use it.
  • U.S. states including Pennsylvania have reportedly shown interest.
  • Other countries including the UK have also held talks with officials.

Ireland's contact tracing app is so successful that several other countries and U.S. states are in talks to reuse to the tech elsewhere, according to reports.

As reported by Business Insider:

Ireland's COVID-19 contact tracing app has been so successful that officials from other countries, including the US, want to use it.Ireland's app, which launched on July 7, and is called COVID Tracker, was developed by a software company called NearForm. It reached 1.3 million downloads in its first week, roughly 37% of people in Ireland over 16 years old.

FAQ: What is the Google-Apple COVID-19 (coronavirus) Exposure Notifications system?

According to the report, NearForm has spoken with "a number of other countries and states in the US" about the prospect of reskinning their app and utilizing it in their respective territories. Among the U.S. states interested in Pennsylvania:

NearForm confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday that Pennsylvania is one of the US states that came calling. State officials have started work with NearForm, the company said.

The report notes that NearForm has also held talks with UK officials, who's contact tracing app has disappeared into obscurity after a national rollout was pegged for May of 2020. As the report notes, the successful app is built using Apple and Google's API, a decentralized system that holds data and registered contact between devices securely and locally. The use of centralized systems where data is held by the government is not supported by Apple, and apps and countries which have tried this approach have been met with mostly failure.

Whilst only 37% of users have adopted the app, developers say Ireland doesn't have a target figure for adoption and that "any impact" the app has is beneficial, even breaking a handful of transmission chains.

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (opens in new tab)
Stephen Warwick
  • Yeah, ok. I'm not putting that **** on my phone.
  • The UK app was scrapped, small local trial on one of our islands failed. Allegedly they restarted trying to use Google/Apple framework for decentralised model. Have brought in an ex Apple guy to manage it.