Trends Report

Apple And Google Unite To Offer A Standard Way For COVID-19 Exposure Notifications — Here’s What You Need To Know

June 1st, 2020

Summary

Apple and Google have partnered to create standard “COVID-19 Exposure Notification” APIs and protocols; this approach separates exposure tracking from identity, thus protecting Apple and Google and requiring public health authorities (read: governments) to manage apps, privacy, and notifications. This will most benefit consumers who opt into the service, but even without high adoption, we believe the benefits will be significant, as the signals coming from those who do participate will help public health authorities direct resources on the ground engaged in traditional contact-tracking efforts. Public health authorities must overcome a variety of barriers, including distrust, adoption, and usability; it may be through a public-private partnership that most adoption happens. For Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification APIs to maximize impact, public health authorities will need to work through interoperability issues with local partners and provide other tools to support contact-tracing teams as decentralized apps shift focus toward preserving end user privacy, rather than establishing bidirectional communication channels between public health authorities and the general public.

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