COVID-19 Exposure Notifications. Alphabet’s Google and Apple announced a new system on Tuesday that will allow public health officials to use smartphones to help with communication tracking without creating an app.
The new system, called the Exposure Notice Express, will allow public health officials to submit a small configuration file to Apple and Google. Both tech companies will use the file to set up settings that phone owners can choose to determine if they have been near someone who has tested positive for the Coronavirus novel.
For iPhones, the new version of the iOS operating system, which will be released on Tuesday, will alert users to the availability of an exposure notification system from local health officials and allow users to set it up without downloading any new apps. On Android devices, users will receive a line from the phone’s operating system but will need to download the automatically created app.
COVID-19 Exposure Notifications
Both companies say Maryland, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington DC will be the first U.S. destinations to use the new system. The new system works with both companies, which were released in May, to help public health officials develop applications that allow iPhones and Android devices to use Bluetooth signals, which will detect the proximity of a person who has positively tested.
Six U.S. states and about two dozen countries have introduced exposure notification applications based on Apple-Google technology in recent weeks without major impacts.
The applications are increasingly compatible with each other, which allows cross-border monitoring. A few jurisdictions like Hawaii are advancing with separate surveillance technology.
However, the effectiveness of exposure notification applications in facilitating slow coronavirus spread remains an important question. Most governments do not monitor detailed data on the use of the app for the benefit of user privacy.
In Alabama, for example, more than 1,000 students caught the virus in an outbreak in August. But a university representative said it was too early to tell if the two-week-old state’s use had made any difference.