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Apple, Google’s New COVID 19 Contact Tracing API Won’t Work With Aarogya Setu

Apple and Google have made it mandatory for public health authorities to use only random Bluetooth identifiers for contact tracing.

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Apple, Google’s New COVID 19 Contact Tracing API Won’t Work With Aarogya Setu

Apple and Google are set to offer their contact tracing tech to the masses, but Indians may left behind

Highlights
  • Apple-Google tech has already received interest from 23 countries
  • India is promoting Aarogya Setu as its contact tracing solution
  • Apple-Google provided its tech as a temporary option for users

Aarogya Setu is not compatible with the new contact tracing standard created jointly by Apple and Google. India's COVID-19 contact tracing app Aarogya Setu has been registered over 10 crore times, but some of its features mean that it may not work with Google and Apple's privacy preserving solution to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The standard made by the tech giants is based on guidelines to enable contact tracing without impacting privacy of individuals. Authorities in as many as 23 countries have reportedly showed interest in the technology developed by Apple and Google. This is means as a temporary solution, unlike Aarogya Setu that has new features coming for the longer term.

Location tracking for contact tracing
One of the key differences between the Aarogya Setu app and the technology designed by Apple and Google is the location tracking that is there on the former, but is prohibited on the latter. Location tracking has raised many privacy concerns from experts in India. However, the government is against stopping location data tracking.

The Apple-Google collaboration has also made it clear that users will have the option to turn off contact tracing at any time by uninstalling the dedicated app or disable exposure notification.

In addition to location tracking, Apple and Google have made it clear in their guidelines that other than the random Bluetooth identifiers, no data will be shared by the system with public health authorities unless a user has reported a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 or a user has been notified through the app that they've come into a contact with a COVID-19 patient.


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Jagmeet Singh Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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