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Apple, Google partner on COVID-19 contact tracing technology

By Xinhua | April 11th 2020

Apple and Google on Friday announced a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce COVID-19 spread.

Apple and Google said in a joint statement that they will launch a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing, as public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread.

According to the statement, the solution is to be implemented in two steps. Both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities in May.

In the coming months, they will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms that would allow more individuals to participate, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities, the statement said.

Both companies hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and public health providers, confirming that "privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance" to the design.

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