Apple and Google shared the data of the system they are preparing for the tracking of the colon and we gathered all the answers to the questions you may have.
In recent days, you may have heard that Google and Apple – thikes kiniton – will work together to create a coronavirus tracking tool. This tool is designed to detect a user’s contacts in the real world and notify them if they are likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. The contact tracing, as it is called in English the process is a very effective measure in controlling pandemic and several countries have already implemented similar tools (eg Singapore).
Apart from the protection of public health, however, the privacy of citizens is also included in the discussion, with such measures. Apple and Google’s system will be used by third-country governments, not just the United States, so we need to look at it in depth. The two companies have published the technical details of the system, so we can check how this will work and solve any related questions.
What is contact tracing?
Let’s start with the basics, the functionality of the system. Contact tracing (more generally, not just in the case of Google / Apple) is the process of tracking the contacts of a person infected with the new coronavirus. As you’ve probably heard, incident tracking is something that is already being done by health organizations around the world, but not in such an efficient way. A contact tracing application aims to speed up and automate the process, faster detecting the possible spread of the virus by a patient.
How does the system designed by Apple and Google work?
The basic idea is that your smartphone alerts you if you come in close contact with someone who is suffering from coronavirus heart disease. This is done using the Bluetooth LE technology found in the majority of smartphones today. The mobile phone emits a unique Bluetooth signal at regular intervals recorded by nearby devices using the service. Your device does the same, it keeps a list of the devices you have come in contact with. If a user is positive for the virus, then they can update the application. This way, people who came in contact with that user can be notified almost immediately and know that they may be exposed to the virus.
This system does not require location data to work. The only thing that matters is whether there has been contacting. Also, the update of the application, in case there is a positive coronavirus sample, can only be done by authorized health workers. This eliminates the possibility of “troll” results, which would create a significant problem in the usability of the tool.
Will the final system be an app on my mobile?
About. The work that Apple and Google are currently doing is more aimed at creating an API from which the official applications of each state that uses it will draw data. The two companies will create the “skeleton” of the project, on which the apps of any country they choose to use will be based. In the second phase, the two companies intend to integrate the function of contact tracing on iOS and Android.
How secure is my data?
And now we come to the part where we talk about the middle ground, the security of personal data and the privacy of every user. In simple terms, the system designed by Apple and Google is a tracking system, so the concern is completely justified. In practice, however, user anonymity is largely protected. The technical data is already posted by both companies so we can see how the system handles each user’s data.
Initially, the system does not record location details, as we said above. In addition, the system does not record any identifying information and the list of your personal contacts are stored on the mobile phone and is simply compared to the central database. If a virus case enters the system, ordinary users have no way of knowing who was positively diagnosed. Also, this information is not accessible to Apple or Google. Finally, this system will be used completely voluntarily. Each user must choose to enable it on their device or download the relevant application so that it can work.
What we did not cover in the case of hacking the central system. This is the only realistic threat to the system. However, the way the system is structured, even the violation of the database or a mobile phone that uses the application, cannot easily reveal the identity of the users. Most of the data exchanged are encrypted, and the only way to extract potentially useful data is if someone gets sick. We are talking about the extreme case where a malicious user, with prior knowledge of a user’s identity, but also the daily ID (created by the application), could associate the contacts with the main list.
Although the scenario is theoretically feasible, it is practically not very likely, as it requires several resources without providing many useful data. But again, we can’t rule it out 100%, hence the concern. However, we must emphasize that no corresponding system could guarantee absolute data security. Even human recording of a positive impact requires sharing data with third parties, as is the case with Google and Apple. Only in the case of digital tracking, we have a much more efficient recording of a person’s contacts and the ability to collect data faster.