Following their announcement in early April, Apple and Google today have announced that the API for their Exposure Notification technology is now available to public health agencies throughout the world. According to representatives from both companies, 22 countries across five continents have either requested or received access to the technology with more expected to be part of the list soon.
In case you not familiar with the technology, it is meant to help authorities fight COVID-19 pandemic by expanding their contact tracing reach. The collaboration between these two tech giants resulted in a Bluetooth-based approach that is designed to eliminate interoperability issues between Android and iOS.
At the same time, Apple and Google have also taken battery life into consideration, so that the usage of the technology will not drain the battery on users’ devices. There is also a huge focus on privacy which is why there is a long list of policies that government agencies need to adhere to adopt the Exposure Notifications technology.
For example, it can only be used by apps that are made by a public health authority (PHA). Additionally, only one app per country can use Exposure Notification technology although Apple and Google are ready to provide support to countries that approached COVID-19 on regional and state basis.
Consents from users need to be obtained not only for the usage of the Exposure Notification technology but also their willingness to share their COVID-19 test results with the authority. Not to forget, apps that utilize the API is not allowed to access Location Services which is something that might go against all three existing COVID-19 apps from the Malaysian government.
Speaking about the Malaysian government, it is not known if Malaysia is part of the 22 countries that have requested access to the Exposure Notification technology since the country’s list was not publically released by Apple and Google. That being said, Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin has previously referred to the Apple and Google collaboration in relation to the MyTrace app.
Meanwhile, it is not yet known when apps with Apple-Google Exposure Notification implementation will be made available to the public. That being said, expect them to appear any time soon since the API is now readily available for implementation on new and existing COVID-19 contact tracing apps by public health authorities.