Linux Foundation Launches COVID-19 Project to Help Health Authorities Make Apps With Apple's API

The Linux Foundation today announced the launch of a new Linux Foundation Public Health Initiative (LFPH) (via TechRepublic) that uses open source technologies including Apple and Google's Exposure Notification API to help public health authorities combat COVID-19.

linuxfoundationcovid
The LFPH includes Cisco, doc.ai, Geometer, IBM, NearForm, Tencent, and VMWare, and is launching with two exposure notification projects: COVID Shield and COVID Green.

COVID Shield and COVID Green are apps that use the Apple and Google-designed privacy-focused exposure notification API, with the apps rolling out in Canada, Ireland, and some U.S. states.

"To catalyze this open source development, Linux Foundation Public Health is building a global community of leading technology and consulting companies, public health authorities, epidemiologists and other public health specialists, privacy and security experts, and individual developers," said Dan Kohn, LFPH general manager. "While we're excited to launch with two very important open source projects, we think our convening function to enable collaboration to battle this pandemic may be our biggest impact."

COVID Shield, developed by a volunteer team at Shopify, is in the process of being deployed in Canada, while COVID Green was developed by a team at NearForm as part of the Irish Government's response to the pandemic. Both of the apps are being made available to public health authorities around the world to use and customize to create their own contact tracing apps.

Apple released its ‌Exposure Notification‌ API in May 2020 with the launch of iOS 13.5, but the API, designed in partnership with Google, has not yet seen wide adoption. Switzerland, Latvia, Italy, Germany, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Denmark have launched contact tracing apps that use the API so far.

Some states like Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina are working on a contact tracing app, but no apps using the Apple and Google API have been released in the U.S. so far. Contact tracing is believed to be of value as it is designed to let people know when they've been exposed to COVID-19 so they can quarantine themselves and cut down on the spread of the virus.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
10 months ago

Reminds me of the Terminator series.
Fun fact: Industrial Light and Magic did the VFX for both The Abyss and Terminator 2. Despite the CGI face getting (I think) 10 seconds of screen time, it was considered a dry run for the effects they'd use in T2. :)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
10 months ago

When this was announced I remember some sentiment about would these APIs be needed in a few months. Who knew?
I hear it’ll all be over by April. And there’s only like 15 cases in the US and it’ll only go down from there.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
10 months ago

When I asked the representative of California governor Gavin Newsom whether contact tracing app is in the works, I was told that they are using several thousand people to do the work instead, using voice calls to notify people.
Unfortunately, that’s a bit like saying, “I don’t need seat belts, I’ve got ABS brakes in my car”. They’re both safety equipment, but they aren’t competing - they should both be used.

We need manual contact tracing and exposure notification apps (and masks, and social distancing, and strict limits on large gatherings). They have different strengths - e.g. manual contract tracers can be very thorough, but they can get backlogged, while this lightweight exposure notification system can scale to millions of notifications quite easily, while responding extremely quickly. Manual contract tracers can follow up and provide guidance and ask probing questions, but they can’t find out about places where a person went that they’ve forgotten or are unwilling to admit, while exposure notification apps can notify people who were at those forgotten locations (all without knowing what that place was - merely that people were nearby - and without letting anyone know who those people are). Exposure notification is not a replacement for contact tracing, but it can fill in a lot of holes that contact tracing would miss.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mnsportsgeek Avatar
10 months ago

Contact tracing with mobile devices has been pretty widely panned by health experts, saying imprecision, false positives, and false negatives make it nearly useless.
How would those things be mitigated using people?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
10 months ago
When this was announced I remember some sentiment about would these APIs be needed in a few months. Who knew?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
10 months ago
Let's hope that US states take up on LFPH's offer. When I asked the representative of California governor Gavin Newsom whether contact tracing app is in the works, I was told that they are using several thousand people to do the work instead, using voice calls to notify people.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
apple music for artists new icon

Apple's Revamped Apple Music for Artists Icon Leads to Speculation About iOS 15 Design Plans

Tuesday April 6, 2021 1:03 pm PDT by
Apple yesterday updated its Apple Music for Artists app with some minor bug fixes and improvements, but also one other notable change -- a new icon. New icon on the right The Apple Music for Artists app now features a simpler, streamlined icon with a pinkish red music logo rather than the multicolored logo that was used before. The icon also has an embossed look that makes it stand out from...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...
new m1 chip

M1 Mac RAM and SSD Upgrades Found to Be Possible After Purchase

Tuesday April 6, 2021 5:34 am PDT by
Technicians in China have reportedly succeeded in upgrading the memory and storage of the M1 chip, suggesting that Apple's integrated custom silicon for the Mac may be more flexible than previously thought. Reports of maintenance technicians being able to expand the memory and storage of M1 Macs began circulating on Chinese social media over the weekend, but now international reports have...
Intel MBP Is Thin and Lighjt

Intel Ad for 'World's Best Processor' Features a MacBook Pro

Wednesday April 7, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Intel has been on a relentless marketing drive against Mac computers in recent weeks, positioning them as inferior to Windows laptops powered by Intel processors. In a slight slip-up, however, Intel has accidentally used a MacBook instead of a Windows laptop in one of its newest ads to promote one of its new 11th-generation chips as "the world's best processor." The ad appeared on Reddit and ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
14

Apple Seeds Seventh Betas of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the seventh betas of upcoming iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta updates coming one week after Apple released the sixth iOS and iPadOS 14.5 betas. iOS and iPadOS 14.5 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. iOS 14.5 is the...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...