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Technology Switzerland pilots a contact tracing app using Apple and Google's tech

19:10  26 may  2020
19:10  26 may  2020 Source:   engadget.com

UK switches COVID-19 contact tracing app to Apple and Google framework

  UK switches COVID-19 contact tracing app to Apple and Google framework The UK is changing its mind on its coronavirus contact tracing app. Going forward, the UK will use the Apple and Google API, BBC reports. This means rather than use a “centralized” model as planned, the UK will adopt the “decentralized” approach that’s been gaining traction across Europe. Contact tracing apps exchange keys between phones and alert users if they were in close proximity (for an extended period) to someone who reports a positive COVID-19 test result. They essentially come in two flavors: centralized, in which the contact tracing occurs in a server, and decentralized, in which it occurs on a device.

Switzerland is now piloting a COVID-19 contact tracing app that uses the Apple-Google framework. According to the Swiss university EPFL, the app, SwissCovid, is the first in the world to put the Apple-Google model to use.

a hand holding a cell phone: SwissCovid contact tracing app SwissCovid contact tracing app

SwissCovid will use Bluetooth to exchange keys between phones. If a user tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, they can inform the app, which will alert other users if they were in close proximity (less than two meters) to the infected person for a prolonged period (more than 15 minutes).

Employees at EPFL, ETH Zurich, the Army and select hospitals and government agencies will be the first to test the Swiss app. This pilot phase is expected to last a few weeks. In the meantime, Swiss parliament must revise the law on epidemics in order to allow the app to be launched countrywide in mid-June.

Apple and Google's COVID-19 contact tracing tech is ready

  Apple and Google's COVID-19 contact tracing tech is ready Today, Apple and Google are releasing their COVID-19 contact tracing technology to public health agencies (PHAs) around the world. So far, 22 countries on five continents have requested the API, which will allow PHAs to develop their own contact tracing apps. Apple and Google have been collaborating on the Exposure Notifications System API for several weeks. As planned, the API will use Bluetooth to exchange keys between phones. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can inform their contact tracing app, which will use the API to send exposure notifications to people they may have come in contact with.

Apple and Google made their contact tracing tech available to public health agencies last week. It’s now compatible with iOS 13.5 and Android devices running 6.0 and above. The model uses a “decentralized” approach, in which key operations are carried out on users’ phones, not in a centralized server. That approach is meant to better protect users’ privacy, and according to EPHL, the decentralized “DP3T” protocol was led by two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology.

Apple and Google team up on virus 'tracing' smartphone tech

  Apple and Google team up on virus 'tracing' smartphone tech Google and Apple unveiled a joint initiative Friday to use smartphones to trace coronavirus contacts to battle the pandemic. The tech giants will collaborate on a "contact tracing" system which can identify people in contact with an infected person. "All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world's most pressing problems," the companies said in a joint statement.

“This gives a great responsibility to the Swiss testers, as many other countries intend to adopt the same protocol later on,” said project manager Alfredo Sanchez.

We know that as many as 22 public health agencies have requested the API, but it’s unclear how many of those will put it to use. Some countries, like Australia, have already launched their own apps. The UK said it would use a centralized approach and began testing an app of its own, but it is reportedly considering a switch to the Apple-Google framework.

“This digital tracing will not replace protective measures, but it is the best way to control the evolution of the epidemic,” said Alain Berset, Federal Councillor at the Swiss Department of Interior.

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100 actors who served in the military

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