Google Dave Burke, Vice President of Engineering, released an update to the Exposure Notifications System (ENS), which Google, in collaboration with Apple, developed to help health officials complement their contact tracking efforts with a networked solution that protects privacy protects and makes people aware of potential exposure to confirmed cases of COVID-19. In the update, Burke notes that the company expects “the first of these apps to be launched in the coming weeks” in the United States. This could be a tacit response to some critics who pointed out that we haven’t seen much on the way to actual products based on the technology that was introduced in May.
Burke writes that 20 states and territories in the United States are currently “researching”
The ENS API now supports exposure notifications between countries. According to Burke, this feature was added based on countries that have already launched technology-based apps (including Canada as of today and some European countries). It is now also better to use Bluetooth values that are specific to a larger number of devices to improve the accuracy of nearby device detection. He also says that they have improved reliability for both apps and debugging tools for those working on development, which should help health authorities and their developer partners make apps that actually use ENS easier to build.
Burke continues that developers have received feedback that they want more details about how ENS works in secret. As a result, they have published publicly available guides that inform health authorities about the creation of test verification servers and their underlying functions and information about what data is actually being collected (in an unidentified manner) to make debugging and verifying the proper functioning of the Enable app.
Google also explains why Android is required The device’s location setting must be enabled to use exposure notifications. However, apps created with the API are expressly prohibited from collecting location data. Basically, it’s a legacy requirement that Google removes in Android 11 that will be released soon. In the meantime, however, Burke says that even if location services are disabled, no app that uses the ENS can actually see or receive location data.