Apple and Google on Friday revealed more details about its contact-tracing technology that aims to help tackle the spread of coronavirus (via Reuters). It includes provisions to maintain user privacy without diminishing effectiveness.
Progress Made on Fixing Coronavirus Contact Tracing Concerns
Exposure time – how long two phones were been near each other – will now be rounded to five-minute intervals. This prevents detailed time data being gathered as that would help match devices to people. Furthermore, user ID numbers will be randomly generated. Metadata such as Bluetooth signal strength and phone model is to be encrypted. So will information on who a user has been near.
Both Apple and Google are going to provide data about Bluetooth power levels. This is to allay health researchers’ concerns about limitations to the system. It means the researchers will gain a better understanding of how long and how close two phones have been together. Furthermore, the firms will provide information on the number of days since a user was last in contact with an infected person.