Virginia’s New App Implements Apple and Google’s COVID-19 Tracking System

An Android phone with the COVIDWISE app open
Virginia Department of Health

Earlier this year, Apple and Google announced a partnership to release an API for COVID-19 contact tracing. The idea is to allow government entities to create apps you can download and take with you to track exposure risks. Now Virginia is the first state to release an iOS and Android app based on Apple and Google’s work.

Dubbed COVIDWISE, the iOS and Android app work fairly simply. While you have the app installed and working, your phone will broadcast a Bluetooth beacon. Other users of the app will anonymously connect and keep track of when and where you encountered people.

If you test positive, you let the app know, and anyone that encountered you will get a notification. Likewise, you’ll get a notification if anyone using the app you encountered marks themselves as positive.

Apple and Google’s API should keep your data anonymous, your personal information isn’t tied to the app. Instead, you broadcast a random string of numbers, and those change frequently.
Virginia says it won’t use the app for contract tracing, and doesn’t receive any identifying information about you. Instead, it’s hoping that the notification system will lead to faster diagnosis and treatment.

Google says twenty other states are interested in developing similar apps, so if you’re not in Virginia you may have a suitable option soon.

via The Verge

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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