Last month, Apple and Google joined forces to enable a broader Bluetooth based contact tracing platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the companies have said they will ban the use of location tracking in apps that use that new contact tracing system.
According to Reuters, both companies said privacy and preventing governments from using the system to compile data on citizens was a primary goal. The other reason they don’t want to allow GPS data collection is because GPS is an unstable, battery draining workaround.
However, developers of official coronavirus relate apps in the US told the publication that it was vital they be allowed to use GPS data in conjunction with the tracing system to track how outbreaks move.
Apple and Google were to release APIs this month that will enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These apps will be available for users to download via their app stores.
in addition, Apple and Google said that they will allow only one app per country to use the contact system to avoid fragmentation and encourage wider adoption.
We have seen how major tech companies have risen up to the occasion to aid in the tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook recently allowed researchers to use aggregated location data to understand coronavirus spread through their Data for Good program. Google also came up with a website where you can see how your community is moving during the coronavirus pandemic. Google also has a site where you can see the various COVID-19 statistics for each country globally.