Apple-Google User Privacy Leaving Many Governments Undercut

On Wednesday, after Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google announced as the released of the initial version of their contact tracing technology they were sought access authorities in 23 countries across five continents. The companies said that several U.S. states and 22 countries have sought access, however, there is still no clarity as to how many will actually publish mobile apps.

However, under the companies’ rules, authorities need to stop requiring phone numbers from users. This is one of several restrictions imposed by the companies’ policies which left governments fighting. The two smartphone companies prioritizing user privacy and leave them undercut with the technology’s usefulness.

Government and other authorities are using several apps to accelerate contact tracing by identifying and testing people who might be contagious. However, in some cases governments contend that their measures will be more effective if they could track users’ locations. This will not only help them identify hot spots but also notify them about possible exposure. This will be more helpful than a generic push notification.

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Nevertheless, Apple and Google have barred authorities from using their system from collecting user’s personal data or GPS location data. They have said that their system will be use Bluetooth connections more reliably between devices. It will log users that are in physical proximity of an infected person or place for more than five minutes.

There are several countries including the U.K. and Australia that are developing their own technology. Their technology are experiencing glitches as well as draining device batteries. Such issues are leading to limited adoption of their technology.