It has been a long time since industries, schools and daily life of the people have been halted by the government to control the spread of the coronavirus. However, the consequences of these actions are visible through a crumbling economy. In order to lift these preventive measures and start the world again, the government needs to adopt strict and aggressive contact tracing methods. The contact tracing method generally means finding sick people individually and then tracing how many of the other people they have interacted with and sending them in self-quarantine to break the infection chain. For speedy and proper contact tracing to curb the growing number of coronavirus advanced contact tracing technology is the right option to go.
Who can create the most good and advanced contact tracing technologies other than the bug tech giants Google and Apple? To fight the novel coronavirus through Bluetooth contact tracing technology, Google and Apple have decided to team up to create a tool that can track the nearby COVID-19 patients and alert the citizens staying around them and the ones they came in contact with. So how does this tool work?
If you are in direct touch with other people, the contact-tracing tool Apple and Google plan to create will make your smartphone sign in. If one of those people ever shows symptoms of Covid-19 to a public health official, your phone will receive a diagnostic warning. It functions a bit like sharing contact details with everyone you meet, except this will be anonymous and automatic. Once it is fitted with this new contact-tracing software, your smartphone can regularly exchange unencrypted tracing codes via Bluetooth with nearby devices. The phone retains a list of codes obtained from people you come in touch with, not a server that stays on your device until you test for coronavirus positive and record your diagnosis. When that happens, then your phone will upload certain codes to a server that will send reminders to the owners of the recently collected keys. As two of the most competing tech companies in the business are building the tool together, there is a question of its credibility. The companies ensured that they will do whatever they can to understand the privacy and security concerns. The tool is expected to come out in May.
In Singapore, a contact tracing technological app called TraceTogether was launched after the cases began to rise. It now has 1.1 million users and operates by exchanging and logging unique identification codes with the activated app over BlueTooth signals from nearby phones, and the data is accessed to identify similar contacts when a user tests positive for coronavirus. However, reviews say that the app is flawed as it has given many false positives.
Similarly in India where cases are doubling every day, a contact tracing app called Aarogya Setu is created by the former Google executive Lalitesh Katragadda and his 30 team members. This contact tracing technology relies on Bluetooth signals and GPS locations to record devices that have interacted with each other unlike the app in Singapore. When someone has been tested positive for coronavirus, she or he will enter the information on the app. The app warns all those who got in contact with the infected patient because that information has already been registered by the system. The software was developed in such a way that the government is able to handle resources when there is an increase in cases. This app asks for sensitive data from the users about their personal health due to a lack of awareness in India. The government also downloads the data of people above 60 years and the ones who are at risk of coming down with the virus.
But the most worrisome issue about this app is that from a privacy point of view, this app is dangerous. The government now has access not only to our names and date of birth but also to our biometric records. If the issues aren’t resolved, others would hesitate to use the app and could even backfire if they don’t take privacy concerns into account.