Representational Pic (Google and Apple)
Representational Pic (Google and Apple)
Pixabay

Tech giants Apple and Google, in an attempt to combat the spread of the deadly pandemic coronavirus, are working on a contract-tracing tool.

Stronger privacy protections are also on the feature cards as the upcoming Covid-19 contract-tracing tool's developer version will be launched soon.

How will Covid-19 contract-tracing tool work?

Apple, in a 'Frequently Asked Questions' document, explains how the tool will help the authorities and governments around the world in contract-tracing efforts to combat Covid-19.

The tool, according to the FAQ, is a "two-phase exposure notification solution."

The tool uses Bluetooth technology on respective smartphone which once enabled, will let the user's device send out beacons that includes a string of random numbers.

The numbers have nothing to do with the users' identity, and will change every 10-20 minutes for security reasons.

All the beacons will be collected in the system as a list after the tracks on every phone perform this function.

"At least once per day, the system will download a list of beacons that have been verified as belonging to people confirmed as positive for COVID-19 from the relevant public health authority. Each device will check the list of beacons it has recorded against the list downloaded from the server. If there is a match between the beacons stored on the device and the positive diagnosis list, the user may be notified and advised on steps to take next," the FAQ read.

How will the tool on your device?

First, the users will be required to download the public health apps issued by their country's government.

After installing the apps, open and accept all the terms and condition before the program is activated.

The technology becomes functional ones you agree to the terms and conditions.

However, to use the technology or not rests with you.

"The choice to use this technology rests with the user, and he or she can turn it off at anytime by uninstalling the contact tracing application or turning off exposure notification in Settings," the document states.

While this was the first phase of the tool, in the second phase, which will be available in the months to come, the technology will be available at the operating system level.

However, an app will not be required in the second phase of the contract-tracing technology.

The document states: "If a match is detected, the user will be notified, and if the user has not already downloaded an official app they will be prompted to download an official app and advised on next steps. Only public health authorities will have access to this technology and their apps must meet specific criteria around privacy, security, and data control."

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