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Apple, Google outlaw use of location tracking in contact tracing apps

Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google on Monday said they would outlaw the use of location tracking in apps that use a new contact tracing system the two are coming together to help slow the escalation of the novel coronavirus.

Apple and Google, whose operating systems is use by 99% of smart phones, said last month they would work together to shape a system for telling people who have been near others who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The companies ploy to allow only public health authorities to use the technology.

“Both companies said privacy and preventing governments from using the system to compile data on citizens was a primary goal. The system uses Bluetooth signals from phones to detect encounters and does not use or store GPS location data.”

But the developers of official coronavirus-related apps in several U.S. states told Reuters last month it was of important they allowed to use GPS location data in conjunction with the new contact tracing system to track how escalations of the pandemic is and identify hotspots.

Privacy experts made an alarm that any cache of location data associated to health issues could make businesses and individuals at risk to being spurn if the data is exposed.

“Apple and Google also said Monday they will allow only one app per country to use the contact system, to avoid fragmentation and encourage wider adoption. The companies said they would, however, support countries that opt for a state or regional approach, and that U.S. states will be allowed to use the system.”


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