Apple and Google are expanding on their previously released COVID-19 exposure notification framework in a bid to simplify the process. This arrived as part of iOS 13.7 on Tuesday. Android user Android 6 or above will get the update later in September (via The Verge).
Simplifying COVID-19 Exposure Logging
The new system means that public health authorities in the U.S. no longer need to develop standalone apps. Instead, they just need to configure the basic framework provided by the tech giant’s to their state’s needs. Existing apps will not be affected by the change.
In a statement, Apple and Google said:
As the next step in our work with public health authorities on Exposure Notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the Exposure Notifications System without the need for them to build and maintain an app. Exposure Notifications Express provides another option for public health authorities to supplement their existing contact tracing operations with technology without compromising on the project’s core tenets of user privacy and security.
Assemble Configuration File, Not an App
The new system means that participating health departments need only assemble a configuration file instead of maintaining an app. They can set their risk scores, redirect users to their specific health department website, and modify the recommendation for users who have been exposed. The iOS and Android operating systems will then be able to generate the necessary software automatically. On an iPhone, this will be done at the OS-level. The updated framework allows for interoperability between states. Maryland, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington, DC are already signed up.