Apple and Google Partner On COVID-19 Contact Tracing TechnologySource: Google

What you need to know

  • Germany's contact tracing app has been released to the public.
  • It's based on the framework created by Apple and Google.
  • Germany becomes the latest country to adopt the tech, after initially opting for a centralized method.

Germany has announced that its coronavirus contact tracing app, Covid-Warn-App, is now available.

As Reuters reports:

Germany sought to mobilize the public on Tuesday to download a new smartphone app that seeks to help break the chain of coronavirus infections, one of several such apps in Europe that governments hope will revive travel and tourism.

The new Covid-Warn-App, which became available for download for Apple and Android phones overnight, uses Bluetooth short-range radio to monitor close contacts between people and issue a warning should one of them test positive.

Germany initially chose to use an app which stored data on a central server, but reversed course after an open letter from "hundreds of scientists" warned that it would create unprecedented surveillance of society at large. The government abandoned the PEPP-PT standard and opted for Apple and Google's API instead.

The new app contains several features to keep the data of Germany's residents safe and secure. Users will not be required to register to use the app, and no name or email address is required. Phones only exchange random code identifiers whenever they come into contact, with no information being shared about who the phones belong to. The data is only stored on user's smartphones and deleted after 14 days, and no one who registers as infected or receives a notification can be traced by either the government, the Robert Koch institute or any other third parties including Apple or Google.

The app is available to download in Germany on iOS and Android now.

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