Find out You were exposed to a serious illness through a push notification. This still seems to be something out of dystopian science fiction. However, the ingredients for exactly this scenario will be integrated into the Google and Apple operating system in a few days. Now the two companies have shown not only how it will work, but also what it might look like – and how it will let you know when you are in danger.
On Monday, Apple and Google released some new details about the Bluetooth system, which they integrate in both Android and iOS, so that health authorities can track potential encounters with Covid-19. Companies have now made it clear that only government agencies ̵
The two companies have also released sample screenshots of the user interface for the first time. As Google and Apple first demonstrated last month, their Covid-19 notification system uses their Bluetooth radios to transmit unique, rotating codes from phones that are based on cryptographic keys that change every day. Not only do you keep a record of your codes for the past two weeks, you are also waiting for the codes sent by others. When two people running the app spend a certain amount of time nearby – say 10 minutes within six feet or whatever the health authorities dictate – both phones record each other’s Bluetooth codes. If one of them later gets a positive Covid-19 diagnosis, they can upload all the keys from the past two weeks to the app server, which then sends these keys to the phones of all other users in their region. These phones then check whether the codes that they have recorded from other users in the vicinity can be generated with these keys. If you get a match, the app will display a message that you may have been exposed to Covid-19 and will alert you to quarantine yourself or to be tested.
Now Google and Apple are showing what some parts of this process might look like. However, the two companies warn that they will only publish sample images for reference as the health authorities will create the final apps, not Apple and Google.
For example, Google and Apple suggest that the apps get the user’s consent to transfer and record Bluetooth codes when they first install the app: