Apple and Google in Rare Team Up to Fight Coronavirus
Contact tracing COVID-19 technology could lead to testing billions of people through a rare joint venture between Apple and Google.
Issuing a joint statement, both companies declared, “All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems.”
The technology will be added into the iOS and Android platforms in two phases:
1) In mid-May, iPhones and Android phones will be able to wirelessly exchange anonymous information through apps run by authorities in charge of public health departments.
2) Contact-tracing software works without having to download an app. This might take months, likely weeks.
Once step 2 is complete, and users opt in, between Apple's iOS and Google's Android, about 3 billion people, or more than one-third of the planet, has the potential to be tested.
Privacy concerns are handled in part, through the requirement of consent by both parties and location data won't be collected.
Researchers at M.I.T. are working with developers on similar contact-tracing software for phones, but without Apple and/or Google, they have faced privacy and connectivity issues.
There has been expected privacy issues push back plus plenty more political footballs are being kicked around regarding this proposed venture.
But if two companies who have been bitterly battling each other for decades can collaborate to collectively conquer COVID-19, shouldn't we all do our part and keep an open mind at least?