NHS technical experts are helping to develop a phone app that will reveal if you’ve been around someone with coronavirus.
It will allow mobile phones to track users who have come into contact with affected people and alert them to be tested for the killer infection.
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The Sunday Times reports that ministers believe the technology initiative is essential to lift the lock as soon as possible.
The NHSX – the tech wing of healthcare – is now working “at breakneck speed” with tech giants Apple and Google, sources said.
“We think this is important in helping the country get back to normal,” said an insider from Whitehall.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is currently studying ways to get people to install the app, because at least 60% of them need it to function effectively.
One idea being considered is to allow those who do so to return to normal work and family life, reports say.
It has already been revealed that Apple and Google are teaming up to develop phones that will reveal whether you’ve been within two meters of someone infected with the virus.
The powerful pair – which operates 99% of the world’s smartphones – plans to add new software to make it easier to find people who may have been infected.
“Contact tracing” will play a vital role in managing the deadly virus, health experts say.
The system will work by emitting unique Bluetooth signals, then phones about two meters away can record information about their meetings.
Those who are positive for the coronavirus can then choose to send an encrypted list of the phones they have approached on Apple and Google.
The system will then trigger alerts for those who have been potentially exposed to the deadly infection.
Doctors should then confirm that someone has tested positive for COVID-19 before they can send the data.
This rare collaboration is expected to accelerate the use of applications that test or quarantine potentially infected individuals more quickly and reliably.
Logs will be scrambled to keep the data of infected people anonymous.
However, to be effective, the system would require millions of people to opt for the technology and therefore trust corporate security measures.
Apple and Google have said that their contact tracking system will not track GPS position.
“With Apple and Google, you get all the public health functions you need with a decentralized, privacy-friendly application,” said Michael Veale, professor at University College London involved in the European search system. DP3T contacts.
The companies said they started developing the technology two weeks ago to streamline the technical differences between Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Android.
“To their credit, Apple and Google have announced an approach that appears to mitigate the worst risks of privacy and centralization,” said Jennifer Granick, cybersecurity lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.
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Apple and Google plan to release software tools in mid-May to contact tracking apps approved by them and public health officials.
Google said the tools and updates would not be available where its services are blocked, such as in China or on unofficial Android devices.
Apple will distribute the technology as an update to its iPhone operating system.