France claims Apple's privacy policy is blocking its contact tracing app

Apple Google Partner On Covid 19 Contact Tracing Technology
Apple Google Partner On Covid 19 Contact Tracing Technology (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • France is running into a technical hurdle with Apple.
  • The country claims Apple's privacy policies are preventing it from releasing its own contact tracing app
  • Apple and Google plan to release their own technology next month.

While many countries are anticipating Apple and Google's contact tracing technology, some are attempting to move forward with their own inventions for tracking its citizens. One such country is France, which is apparently experiencing difficultly in launching its technology due to Apple's policies.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, the country is coming up against a technical hurdle that is preventing them from releasing their own contact tracing app.

"The government aims to deploy its app by May 11, which is when France wants to begin to lift restrictions on movement that were imposed in mid-March. Contact-tracing apps are a tool health services can use to more accurately determine who infected people have come into contact with and governments can deploy to help make decisions about how quickly to reopen schools and businesses."

Cedric O, the country's Digital Minister, says that Apple's privacy-focused policy for how it handles Bluetooth is preventing France from building the app that it needs to protect its citizens.

"We're asking Apple to lift the technical hurdle to allow us to develop a sovereign European health solution that will be tied our health system."

Apple currently does not allow an app to run Bluetooth in the background if the data is being moved off of the device. The company's collaboration with Google is aimed at keeping data on the device unless someone you have been in contact with reports an infection.

When asked about France's request, Apple declined to comment and referred Bloomberg to the press release about its own contact tracing technology.

"An Apple spokesman referred to the company's previous joint statement about its partnership with Google, which said the technology would enable Bluetooth-based contact-tracing apps and declined to comment further."

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.