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
25 weeks 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
25 weeks 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
25 weeks 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
25 weeks 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
25 weeks 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
25 weeks 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

cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
ipad pro 2021 mysmartprice cad

Allegedly Leaked 2021 iPad Pro CAD Images Suggest Few Design Changes

Tuesday January 12, 2021 3:38 am PST by
Tech blogs 91mobile and MySmartPrice on Tuesday posted a series of allegedly leaked factory CAD images of Apple's upcoming fifth-generation 11-inch iPad Pro. Rumors suggest Apple plans to announce two new iPad Pro models in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions, and today's images offer perhaps the clearest indication yet that Apple's next-generation iPad Pros will have minimal, if any,...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
mac anti reflective coating issue

Apple's Anti-Reflective Coating Repair Program Still in Effect for Some MacBooks With New Mail-In Policy

Tuesday January 12, 2021 10:07 am PST by
In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple recently informed its network of Apple Authorized Service Providers that mail-in repair is now required for Mac notebooks with anti-reflective coating issues in the United States. The new policy went into effect January 4, 2021 and means that customers who take an eligible 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro exhibiting this issue to an Apple...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
whatsapp wallpapers 1

WhatsApp Affirms User Privacy Following Backlash Over Data Sharing With Facebook

Tuesday January 12, 2021 6:39 am PST by
Following backlash after changing its terms and privacy policy to consolidate a significant amount of data sharing with Facebook, WhatsApp is now assuring users about the privacy measures built into its app. Last week, WhatsApp began informing users of updates to the app's terms of service and privacy policy. The updated agreements, which users must consent to in order to continue using...
apple racial equity justice initiative propel center render 01132021

Apple Launches New Nationwide Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects

Wednesday January 13, 2021 4:08 am PST by
Apple today announced a set of new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color. Rendering of the Propel Center The projects include the Propel Center, a global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), an Apple ...