Google and Apple have launched a Covid-19 exposure tracking solution in India. In fact, the app has secretly made its way into our mobiles without our knowledge. A quick peek into the settings menu of your device indicates that the feature is present and if not active, it will soon get a thumbs up.

The Covid-19 tracing system is designed by Apple and Google in conjunction with government-approved Covid tracing app for both Android and iPhone devices. Google and Apple have jointly created the Exposure Notifications System out of a shared sense of responsibility to help governments and global communities fight this pandemic through accurate contact tracing.The idea behind the solution is to create a self-sufficient alarm system to alert users in case they have come in touch with a positive tested patient.

The API based solution is intended to exchange “anonymous identifying” keys with other smartphone users. It is only used for contact tracing by public health authorities apps, which means the system works in collaboration with existing coronavirus-tracking applications created by government and public health agencies to inform the user for a cross over with a potential victim carrying the virus.Exposure notification is only done on device and under the user’s control. In addition people who test positive are not identified by the system to other users.

Different from AarogyaSetu App

AarogyaSetu has been deemed as absolutely ineffective by experts and researchers when it comes to the privacy of installers. The Covid-19 tracing app is dubious and does not have a comprehensible record especially when it comes to data privacy.

Exposure Notifications – Still Inactive in Both Android and iOS

The Exposure Notification solution developed by Apple, Google uses Bluetooth effectively making the entire contract tracing solution work efficiently. Secondly, the solution created by Google and Apple focuses on user data privacy and does not record the device’s GPS location. Basically, when you turn on the exposure notifications on your phone viaAarogyaSetu, it will send random IDs to nearby phones (given that they have also turned on this setting). This way, your phone will exchange and store a lot of IDs throughout the day. If anyone from those stored IDs tests positive for COVID-19, the user will be notified accordingly. Notably, these random IDs change every 10-20 minutes to maintain user privacy and are only stored for 14 days.

To find the exposure notification, you have to open the settings icon. Under settings, search for Google. Once you click on it, you will be bombarded with Covid-19 notifications. In iPhones, you can find the same under settings, privacy, and then health.

The Exposure Notification solution uses Bluetooth to ensure that the entire contract tracing solution is working efficiently. Also, the solution created by Google and Apple focuses on user data privacy and does not collect a device’s GPS location. 

Privacy At Its Core

The latest Exposure Notification solution designed by Google and Apple needs an approval of the developers of contract tracing apps in order to function on smartphones. The tech giants have also offered the users the liberty to deactivate the setting and stop it from noting personal data like device location, photos, etc.

Google has clearly explicated that the app users can choose not to make use of exposure notifications. The Exposure Notifications System is built with your privacy and security at the forefront. The identity of users us kept a secret and not shared with other users, Google, or Apple.

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