Google and Apple partnered up to build Exposure Notification technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately across Android phones and iPhones.

“Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically,” Apple and Google said in a joint statement.

Exposure Notification aims to expand on the contact tracing approach by using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus.

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Public health organizations can embed the technology into their own apps. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app.

“User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps,” Google and Apple added.

Developers can build a notification system that employs random, rotating keys and identifiers to convey positive diagnoses in addition to data such as associated symptoms, proximity, and duration.

When a user has a confirmed or potential exposure to COVID-19, the framework identifies them as affected and shares their diagnosis keys to alert other users to potential exposure and when a potentially exposed user role is assigned, the framework determines whether a set of temporary exposure keys indicate proximity to an affected user. The app can then retrieve additional information such as date and duration from the framework.

Additional details are available here.