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Apple and Google show how coronavirus exposure notification apps will work

Apple and Google

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Apple and Google show how coronavirus exposure notification apps will work

Apple and Google gave us an idea of how their coronavirus exposure notification system would work when the partnership was first announced one month ago, but today the two companies are shedding a bit more light on their effort by showing just what an app might look like.

Sample UI resources for the COVID-19 exposure notification system have been shared by Apple and Google (via TechCrunch). They show what the apps for iOS and Android might look like, including the settings for toggling exposure notifications on and off and the alert that’ll appear if you’ve potentially come into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

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The screens show that if you’ve tested positive, you will enter your unique test identifier to confirm you’re positive test result, a move that’ll prevent fake reports. You’ll also enter your test date to determine who should be notified that they came into contact with you.

If you receive an alert that you came into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, you’ll see the dates that these possible exposures took place and the next steps that you should take.

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The apps that actually launch on iOS and Android may look a bit different than what we’re seeing today since these are just samples and public health authorities will be building their own apps. Still, these samples do help give us a better idea of how Apple and Google’s exposure notification system will likely work.

Apple and Google also released a set of policies that developers working with this exposure notification API must follow if they want their app approved for use on iOS and Android. For example, the apps must be made by or for the use of an official government public health authority and they can only be used for responding to COVID-19.

Users must provide consent to an app before it can use the API, and users must also consent to share a positive test result before the app can broadcast that info.

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Apple and Google say that these apps should only gather the minimal amount of info needed for exposure notification and that they cannot access or ask for permission to access a device’s location data.

Finally, there can only be one COVID-19 exposure tracking app per country, a rule that’s meant to prevent fragmentation and ensure that everyone in the country is running the same app and getting the same test results.

Apple and Google plan to ship the public version of the API to consumers starting later this month.

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