Google and Apple Forbid Use of Location Data in Contact Tracing

Not long ago, leading tech giants Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) joined fight against global breakout of deadly coronavirus by use of technology. The tech companies introduced apps that would help individuals know when they have been exposed like maybe when they come into contact with infected persons or high risky areas.

This was a very handy, convenient and executable idea since 99% of smartphones globally operate on operating systems developed by the two tech companies making it easy to notify many smartphone users.

Well, the two companies have announced henceforth they won’t be using user location data in their contract tracing apps. Alternatively, both companies are about to roll out a new contact tracing app that won’t be using location data for the activity.

Google and Apple claim the main reason for development of the new app is security of user data. They say using the current apps governments and other authorized parties can compile available data on the system maybe use it to track on citizens.

Under the new app only public health officials will have access to location data of users however, it won’t just be that easy.

Public health authorities in need of the GPS location data will be forced to depend on what the two tech companies terms as unstable, battery draining workarounds.

One shortcoming of this method is iPhones and Android devices automatically turn off Bluetooth connections after long inactivity periods or just for battery saving. This means location data will be missing tor the period Bluetooth is off unless the users will be switching on Bluetooth every time it goes off.

The existing systems rely on Bluetooth signals from phones to detect if one has been exposed, moreover, they don’t use or save GPS location data.

Developers of apps used to combat coronavirus across various U.S states are saying it’s very important to be allowed to use GPS location data in collaboration with the new contact tracing apps.

The developers claim location data is very vital in establishing how outbreaks moves and high risky hotspots.


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