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Exposure notification is the new name for Google, Apple's contact tracing


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Update, April 29, 2020 (01:39 PM ET): Today, Google and Apple announced that they are starting to release the exposure notification API to a small pool of developers. The developers in question are all associated with public health authorities around the world.

Both companies are also pushing pre-release tools to their respective software platforms, including iOS for Apple and the Google Play Store for Google. The companies hope that these early beta programs will help developers contribute feedback as well as affirm each company’s commitment to transparency as it relates to the exposure notification API.

On Friday, Google and Apple will reveal new information related to this program, including sample code. Stay tuned.


Original article, April 24, 2020 (12:28 PM ET): Google and Apple announced their joint initiative to crack down on the spread of COVID-19 earlier this month. The companies referred to the initiative as contact tracing, but today, company representatives informed Android Authority that it will now be known as exposure notification to more accurately describe the technology.

Presumably, this will help consumers gain a better understanding of the technology, taking the emphasis off of the “tracing” aspect and highlighting its “notification” intentions.

Among other things, Apple and Google representatives also claim the companies have developed stronger methods of protecting user privacy.

Exposure notification will feature an updated API to randomly generate tracing keys, Bluetooth metadata now features updated end-to-end encryption, and the recorded exposure time is limited to five-minute intervals maxing out at 30-minute increments. Together, these changes promise user anonymity while maintaining the technology’s effectiveness.

The companies also want to make it easier for public health authorities to build apps around this technology by giving them more control over how their apps implement the anonymized data. Google and Apple hope these changes will increase app performance and efficiency by minimizing device overhead.

For people who still have further questions, the companies have released a consumer exposure notification FAQ file. You can download that PDF at the link below. If you want to learn more about how the technology works, you can read our article explaining the details here.

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