Ireland Launches COVID-19 App That Uses Apple/Google Exposure Notification API

Ireland today released "COVID Tracker Ireland," a COVID-19 contact tracing app that takes advantage of Apple and Google's Exposure Notification API.


The app, which is opt in, says that users will be alerted if they come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Those exposed will be able to track their symptoms, get advice on what to do, and choose to anonymously warn others they've been in contact with.

The app downloads a list of anonymous IDs every two hours from those who have contracted coronavirus, letting users in Ireland get alerts as soon as possible. Alerts will be triggered if a user has been within two meters of a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, so long as both parties have the COVID app installed.

Alerts will advise people who have been exposed to coronavirus to limit their movements and get tested. The app will not inform users who they came into contact with during the exposure notification nor the place where it happened.

According to the app's release notes, Ireland is employing a three prong approach to exposure notification, which includes contact tracing for identifying those who have been in close contact with a person that has coronavirus, COVID check-in for those with coronavirus to share their symptoms and how they feel, and updates and information such as the latest facts and figures on coronavirus in Ireland.

As with all apps that use the ‌Exposure Notification‌ API, usage is opt-in and privacy is a focus. Even after opting in, choosing to share a coronavirus diagnosis is also optional. All data collected is stored on the device itself, and name, location, and movements are not tracked.

In a statement to Ireland's The Journal, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that the app could be a "really powerful part of the toolkit" for fighting coronavirus.

"It allows every single person to play an extra part. It will allow us to get on with contact tracing in a matter of hours, it will allow people who have the app to completely control their own data, there will be no centralisation of data," Donnolly said.

"The people themselves can choose if they want to anonymously share with close contacts that they have tested positive. It's a very, very powerful tool. We'll be getting into more of the detail tomorrow and we'll be really encouraging as many people as possible to download and use it."

Along with Ireland, several other countries have released apps that use Apple and Google's ‌Exposure Notification‌ API, including Switzerland, Latvia, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Saudi Arabia, while other countries, such as the UK, have apps in the works.

The UK did not originally plan to use Apple and Google's solution, but in mid-June, the National Health Service said that it would adopt the ‌Exposure Notification‌ API after all.

Top Rated Comments

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6 weeks ago


Why won't Americans allow their government to track their every movement? Sheesh, such a small act of service to let your every move be cataloged!

GO. READ. THE. DAMN. SPEC ('https://covid19-static.cdn-apple.com/applications/covid19/current/static/contact-tracing/pdf/ExposureNotification-FAQv1.1.pdf'). The API is impossible to use for what you describe. And this has been patiently explained in these forums ad nauseam. Yet a loud contingent here keeps righteously complaining that it does something that it in fact DOES NOT DO and cannot do, by design. You made a guess about how it works, and then you campaign against the ramifications of that guess you made. But you guessed wrong. The details of how it actually works are well documented and freely available. Go read them.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
It saddens me to know with certainty that most Americans would be unwilling to take on a small act of service like this.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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6 weeks ago
If we had semi functional government at any level, this would be available in the U.S.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago


Listen to all of you. The API exists, yet you say the U.S. government(s) needs to do something with it. Anything. ANYTHING!

So, what if an app is created by the CDC or a state-specific health department? Do you believe that federal or state law shall/does righteously allows the government to compel people to use such an app?

Since this is what you’re advocating (or the lack of “missing leadership” you’re bemoaning)

You seem to be confusing leadership with dictatorship. Real leaders can convince people and don't need to "compel" them.

then why are you okay with the government just mandate the implementation of this wonderful technology now, with penalties of fines/imprisonment for those who don’t comply? And then likewise mandate that everyone over the age of X purchase and carry a cellphone and mandate they maintain a plan?

What are you even talking about?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
It would be fantastic if the opt-in also included a free pint of Guinness
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago


Diazepam. Works wonders.

Edit: Thanks for the laughs I got from your thumbs down. So wound up you can't fathom taking a chill pill.

Not wound up, sick to death of fools repeatedly insisting that a tool will be used for a nefarious purpose that it is simply incapable of doing, by design. If it were in the abstract, I’d simply roll my eyes and move on, but these ignorant fools are endangering public health by running around spreading fear and conspiracy theories. Hey, but chill, why worry about a few thousand more preventable deaths, right?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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