Google, Apple's collaborative venture for Coronavirus contact tracing -- COVID-19 Exposure Notification -- has now reached India. The technology has now started appearing in Android phones' Google settings so that users can opt-in for it and take a step in curbing the spread of the virus. However, India's own contact tracing app Aarogya Setu won't be able to support the tech. Read on to know why.
Aarogya Setu won't support Apple-Google contact tracing tech
Google and Apple's Exposure Notification tech comes in the form of an API (Application Program Interface) that will be added to the various apps developed by public health authorities. It will be done to figure out if a person has come in contact with a Coronavirus-infected person or shows symptoms of the same to curb its spread. However, Aarogya Setu Coronavirus contact tracing app isn't compatible with the tech developed by Google and Apple.
Since Aarogya Setu works differently as compared to the Apple-Google Exposure Notification tech and needs to follow certain privacy policies laid by both Apple and Google (which it doesn't support as of now), users in India won't be able to use the tech.
The major changes include the way Aarogya Setu works. For those who don't know, Aarogya Setu uses a person's location and Bluetooth data to know if a person has come in contact with a person with COVID-19 and more. However, the Apple-Google tech, by design, only makes use of Bluetooth and doesn't collect users' location data and the data remains only between the user and his or her device. This also differentiates the two on the basis of how they care about users' privacy.
While there is no word on whether or not the Indian COVID-19 contact tracing app will get the Apple-Google tech, a spokesperson from MeitY told the Indian Express, “For Google, no decision has been taken as of now. We will check what requirements are they asking and then decide accordingly whether we want to participate."
As a reminder, the Exposure Notification tech has been adopted by various countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, German, with more expected to join soon. The technology generated random IDs based on Bluetooth and based on the beacon keys by various smartphones, it matches the data with its list and if there is a match, the app will notify users of the same.