Do you want a "contact tracing" app on your phone? | The Tylt
Do you want a "contact tracing" app on your phone?
There's no question extensive contact tracing would make a significant difference in containing COVID-19; the problem comes down to implementation worldwide. Apple and Alphabet (Google's parent company) believe they can collaborate to find a solution. Per the Wall Street Journal's Sam Schechner and Rolfe Winkler:
The tech giants on Friday said they will release tools for software developers to create so-called contact-tracing apps that record when smartphones come into close contact with each other. Such apps could warn users if they were nearby someone later diagnosed as positive for Covid-19.
If the plan were to work, not only would the app require widespread adoption, but COVID-19 testing would need to be widely available. According to Schechner and Winkler, the tech giants put forth a diagram to show how the app would work:
Instead of tracking devices’ specific locations, apps using the new protocol from Apple and Google would track proximity to other devices. To do so, they would rely on a technology built into smartphones called Bluetooth that is normally used to connect wireless headphones or transfer files to nearby devices.
Privacy activists have taken issue with the use of location data even in fighting an epidemic because it can reveal very sensitive information, stigmatizing people and discouraging cooperation with public-health authorities.
Furthermore, some critics say if testing was widely available, a contact-tracing app would hardly be necessary