Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Contact Tracing API Available From April 28

Following a conference call with Apple CEO Tim Cook, EU industry leader Thierry Breton has said in a statement that Apple has a "responsibility" to make sure that contact tracing apps work on its iPhones, reports Reuters.
thierry breton

Image via @ThierryBreton

It is "the responsibility of companies such as Apple to do their utmost to develop suitable technical solutions to make the national apps work. Coordination with EU member states' health authorities is paramount," Breton said in a statement.

The two did not talk about any specific case, an EU official said.

The comments follow a spat between Apple and the French government, which has demanded that the company change the privacy settings of its iPhones to make them work with France's planned contact tracing app.

iOS prevents apps like the one France is working on from using Bluetooth in the background if the data collected is going to be moved off of the device, which is a rule designed to protect user privacy. With this limitation, a contact tracing app is only able to access Bluetooth when an iPhone is unlocked and the app is open.

France is aiming to launch a contact tracing app by May 11, but it has complained that Apple's restriction is standing in the way. However, Apple is developing its own Bluetooth-based smartphone tracking solution to allow governments and health agencies to reduce the spread of the coronavirus while also protecting user privacy.

iGeneration reports that Cook gave Breton a release date for its contact tracing API during their call. In a press conference following the talks, Breton revealed that Cook told him the first version of the API will be available on April 28.

Apple's original statement about the API on April 10 said it would be released in May, and would enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities.

In the coming months, Google and Apple will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into their underlying platforms. Apple says that this solution is more robust than an API and will allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, and it will enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.

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Top Rated Comments

tkukoc Avatar
54 months ago

Sweden did basically nothing and they're fine. The whole virus is BS. It's not nearly as deadly as the media keeps pushing. There are studies by USC, Stanford and others showing 40-85x more people have gotten this than have tested positive. Most didn't even know they had it. There's a 99.9% chance you'll be fine if you get it. We need to just go back to normal and live our lives.
100% incorrect, tell you what I’ll switch where I live with you... then you tell me this virus is BS. This is the kind of nonsense that causes the virus to continue to spread, misinformed and based purely on your own feelings. Well this virus doesn’t work that way! It’s real! And I’ve got several dead neighbors and friends because of it. Disgusting post!
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Schranke Avatar
54 months ago
This will only result in me turning off Bluetooth when I’m out in public and not using any Bluetooth devices.
As I have understood what is being developed, it will collect data from all devices it comes in contact with regardless of you having the app or not.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Arbuthnott Avatar
54 months ago

('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/04/23/apple-contact-tracing-api-release-april-28/')

Following a conference call with Apple CEO Tim Cook, EU industry leader Thierry Breton has said in a statement that Apple has a "responsibility" to make sure that contact tracing apps work on its iPhones, reports Reuters ('https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-apple-eu/eus-breton-urges-apple-to-work-with-bloc-amid-french-spat-on-virus-app-idUKKCN22439K?il=0').

Image via @ThierryBreton ('https://twitter.com/ThierryBreton/status/1253039000782286848')
The comments follow a spat between Apple and the French government, which has demanded ('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/04/20/france-apple-iphone-bluetooth-restrictions/') that the company change the privacy settings of its iPhones to make them work with France's planned contact tracing app.

iOS prevents apps like the one France is working on from using Bluetooth in the background if the data collected is going to be moved off of the device, which is a rule designed to protect user privacy. With this limitation, a contact tracing app is only able to access Bluetooth when an iPhone is unlocked and the app is open.

France is aiming to launch a contact tracing app by May 11, but it has complained that Apple's restriction is standing in the way. However, Apple is developing its own Bluetooth-based smartphone tracking solution to allow governments and health agencies to reduce the spread of the coronavirus while also protecting user privacy.

iGeneration ('https://www.igen.fr/app-store/2020/04/stopcovid-thierry-breton-exhorte-tim-cook-cooperer-avec-les-etats-114521') reports that Cook gave Breton a release date for its contact tracing API during their call. In a press conference following the talks, Breton revealed that Cook told him the first version of the API will be available on April 28.

Apple's original statement about the API on April 10 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/04/10/apple-google-covid-19-contact-tracing/') said it would be released in May, and would enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities.

In the coming months, Google and Apple will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into their underlying platforms. Apple says that this solution is more robust than an API and will allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, and it will enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.

Article Link: Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Contact Tracing API Available From April 28 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2020/04/23/apple-contact-tracing-api-release-april-28/')
Interesting that it is quoted to be the "French Government" that is making these demands. The news media suggests that this is something that the French Parliament has not voted on, and it part of the same obsessive autocratic drive on the part of Macron to suppress the Yellow Jackets.

For M. Breton, my comment would be that if the French Govt has the trust of the people, they will download and use the app. Something that bypasses user agreement by force or diktat deserves to fail.

Once it has been made to work this sort of tracking will never go away. Today the infection by COVID, tomorrow tracked for your political views, or because you oppose government corruption, etc
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cocky jeremy Avatar
54 months ago

You can't expect society to stay inside for 12-18 months until there is a vaccine. Mental health needs will outweigh COVID-19 health issues, resulting in suicide and other problems.

Countries that have been successful in containing the virus while maintaining some semblance of normalcy all credit testing and contact tracing. It's nice Apple is helping drive contact tracing.
Sweden did basically nothing and they're fine. The whole virus is BS. It's not nearly as deadly as the media keeps pushing. There are studies by USC, Stanford and others showing 40-85x more people have gotten this than have tested positive. Most didn't even know they had it. There's a 99.9% chance you'll be fine if you get it. We need to just go back to normal and live our lives.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
54 months ago
What a dreadful waste, almost like security theatre. It relies on everyone having a smartphone, having bluetooth enabled and working, having the app installed, and then caring about the alert. It can't be that hard to just not stand too close to people(Though some people aren't getting a clue here and walking past you anyway.)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phenste Avatar
54 months ago

Sweden did basically nothing and they're fine. The whole virus is BS. It's not nearly as deadly as the media keeps pushing. There are studies by USC, Stanford and others showing 40-85x more people have gotten this than have tested positive. Most didn't even know they had it. There's a 99.9% chance you'll be fine if you get it. We need to just go back to normal and live our lives.
Do you know any healthcare workers? Genuine, non-inflammatory question. Some of the most intimate perspective/wisdom on the nature of this virus and how actually bad it is can be had from them.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)