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Coronavirus: US Senator questions contact tracing effort from Apple and Google

OS-level contact tracing feature has also raised some privacy concerns. These concerns are in addition to the actual doubts regarding the effectiveness of the feature to combat coronavirus. Check out the details here.

  • Published: April 16, 2020 1:46 PM IST
Apple Google coronavirus contact tracing

Global pandemic coronavirus is currently raging across the globe at an alarming rate. The highly infectious disease continues to spread to new regions while making things difficult for health care systems. With the rapid spread, the total number of confirmed infections and the death toll continues to climb. At the same time, multiple research labs, universities, and scientists are working on multiple potential vaccines. However, the absence of any cure indicates that the best way forward is by controlling and reducing the infections. In addition, the technology world is also trying to step up to the challenge beyond the material donations. Also Read - Coronavirus: Here is how you can help defeat the pandemic with your smartphone while sleeping

Tech companies working on contact tracing to fight coronavirus

As noted previously, technology giants Apple and Google just announced a partnership to work on a cross-platform contact tracing system. Both companies are working to ensure that third-party contact tracing apps working without any issues. In addition, they are also working on ways to make contact tracing on the OS level. It is worth noting that this feature is different from the government apps that multiple countries have rolled out. These include the recently launched Aarogya Setu app. The OS-level contact tracing feature has also raised some privacy concerns. These concerns are in addition to the actual doubts regarding the effectiveness of the feature. Also Read - Apple's Siri voice assistant now offering coronavirus updates in several countries, including India

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Digging further, according to a recent report from Reuters, a US senator has questioned Apple and Google. Senator Richard Blumenthal issued a statement adding that Google and Apple need to convince the public that contact tracing will not violate privacy. He added that the public is “rightfully skeptical” regarding this new technology. Also Read - Google and Apple to soon release contact tracing update to restrain spread of coronavirus

According to past reports, contact will likely help public health officials in early detection and preparation. Blumenthal revealed that he “urgently” wants to know how both the companies will address privacy concerns during coronavirus pandemic. As per the report, both the companies have not issued a comment in response to the remarks. However, they did indicate that this contact tracking feature puts “privacy, transparency, and consent” at the center.

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  • Published Date: April 16, 2020 1:46 PM IST

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