Trump to look at Apple and Google plans for contact tracing to fight coronavirus spreadRecord ID: 1468788
- Title: Trump to look at Apple and Google plans for contact tracing to fight coronavirus spread
- Date: 10th April 2020
- Summary: CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SIGN WITH BLUE APPLE LOGO AT APPLE HEADQUARTERS VARIOUS OF APPLE BUILDING WITH FLAGS FLYING OUTSIDE MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF GOOGLE SIGN ON BUILDING AT GOOGLE HEADQUARTERS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING OUTSIDE GOOGLE BUILDING VARIOUS OF GOOGLE SIGN ON ROAD
- Keywords: Alphabet Apple COVID-19 Google U.S. President Donald Trump contact tracing coronavirus technology
- Reuters ID: LVA002C8WSQBR
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C. AND CUPERTINO AND MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C. AND CUPERTINO AND MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:01:05
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday (April 10) his administration would take a look at plans announced by Apple and Google to work together to create contact tracing technology that aims to slow the spread of the coronavirus by cataloging other phones users have been near.
The rare collaboration between the two Silicon Valley companies, whose operating systems power 99% of the world's smartphones, could accelerate usage of apps that aim to get potentially infected individuals into testing or quarantine more quickly and reliably than existing systems in much of the world. Such tracing will play a vital role in managing the virus once lockdown orders end, health experts say.
Trump said there could be possible privacy concerns with the technology.
"It's very interesting but a lot of people worry about it in terms of a person's freedom. We're going to take a look at that, a very strong look at it," Trump told reporters at a White House coronavirus task force briefing.
Apple and Google said the set-up aims to address the privacy concerns that have forestalled aggressive mobile location tracking and other surveillance measures aimed at preventing new outbreaks.
Under the plan, users' phones will emit unique Bluetooth signals if they have tracing technology turned on. Phones within about six feet can record anonymous information about encounters.
If a person tests positive, the system can send an encrypted list of phones they came near to Apple and Google, which will trigger alerts to potentially exposed users to seek more information. Public health authorities would need to sign off that an individual has actually tested positive before they can send on the data.
The logs will be scrambled to keep infected individuals' data anonymous, even to Apple and Google, the companies said. Their technology will not track the GPS location of users, they added.
(Production: Jane Ross)
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