The use of location tracking will be banned in apps that are using a new contact tracing system build by Google and Apple to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus. This has been announced by Apple and Alphabet’s Google.
Apple and Google’s operating system power almost 99% of smartphones. Last month, the decision to work together and come up with a system to notify people who have been near those that have tested positive for COVID-19 was taken. The companies have planned to permit just public health authorities to use the technology.
The primary goal, as per both the companies is privacy and preventing the governments from using this system to collect data on citizens. Bluetooth signals are used from phones to detect the encounters. It does not use or store the location data.
However, the developers of official coronavirus-related apps in the different U.S States said that it is important that they are permitted to use the GPS location data along with the new contact tracing system to know how the outbreak moves and finds out hotspots.
The decision by Apple and Google to not permit the GPS data collection along with their contact tracing system will require the public health authorities that wish to access the GPS location to depend on unstable, battery-draining workarounds.
But there are apps that have taken their own steps like Software Company Twenty has developed the state of Utah’s Healthy Together contact tracing app with both GPS and Bluetooth
Commenting on Google-Apple approach Twenty said, “If their approach can be more effective than our current solution, we’ll eagerly incorporate their features into our existing application, provided it meets the specifications of current and prospective public health partners.”