Though individuals have to opt into using the system the new scheme could have the potential to track around a third of the world’s population. The contact-tracing technology has been designed to restrain the spread of the coronavirus.
The system does this by informing users whether they should quarantine or self-isolate themselves after coming into contact with another infected individual.
On Friday, the two tech giants said they are planning to build the contact-tracing into their iOS and Android operating systems in two steps.
The initial step will take place in mid-May.
The companies will add a feature to allow iPhones and Androids to wirelessly exchange anonymous information through apps run by public health authorities.
They will also distribute frameworks for the public health apps in order to manage their performance.
Consequently, if a user tests positive for Covid-19 and adds this to the public health app, then other users who come into contact with them will be warned.
Health agencies will set the recommended time period for self-isolation.
The second step Google and Apple Inc. will make takes longer.
In the next few months, both companies will then add the technology directing into their operating systems so that contact-tracing is automatically placed on mobile phones without needing to download the app.
Users will still need to opt in to using the software, but this step means that more people will be included.
The two companies together have about three billion users which is over a third of the world’s population.
The global number of coronavirus cases is over 1.6 million.
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The number of deaths caused by the virus globally has now surpassed 100,000.
Governments across the world have urged people to stay home in order to stop the spread of the virus.
This has caused the global economy to plunge as unemployment skyrockets.
Contact-tracing could be a key way to relax the lockdown restrictions many countries are facing.
This is because the technology could help contain a future resurgence of the coronavirus when governments begin to lift restrictions.
However, this technology is controversial as it involves collecting sensitive health information from potentially millions of people who choose to use the contact-tracing system.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republicans in the House of Representatives in the US, wrote a letter to the American President Donald Trump.
They said: “We caution that actions taken to contain spreading of coronavirus must also preserve the right to privacy held by each and every American.
“Google’s colossal stores of data on daily movements of Americans, coupled with the might of local, state, and federal governments is an alarming prospect.”
Google and Apple Inc. underlined on Friday that their new system will preserve users’ privacy.
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