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Apple and Google's COVID-19 tracking technology under EU scrutiny

Apple and Google's COVID-19 tracking technology under EU scrutiny

The European Union is calling for full compliance with European privacy values and standards at Google and Apple COVID-19 tracking technology. The two tech giants are working together to develop Bluetooth-based technology to track contacts in an attempt to provide a tool for governments to reduce the spread of the virus.

The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, New York, has indicated that it will carefully examine how the service is implemented. Before the actual introduction of the technology, The European Union will assess potential privacy risks. Breton has already had an interview on the issue with Google CEO Sundar Pichai. A meeting labelled by the EU Commissioner as "a positive and constructive exchange".

An appointment with Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, is set to take in in the coming days. Breton stressed that the development of tracking apps and their interoperability must be fully compliant with European standards. However, already in the process of announcing the collaboration, the two American companies have specified that the security and privacy of users will always be at the center of the design.

Just as provided for by EU guidelines, the tracking system will not be based on geolocation but on connecting devices via Bluetooth (as we explained in a dedicated article that can be reached via this link). Apple and Google were quick to say that the data will only be used by public health organizations.

In short, it seems that the technology that will be developed does not appear to be different from the applications that individual Member States are developing in accordance with European requirements. Just in the last few hours, Italy has chosen its own app, Immune, which will be used in the Step 2 pandemic.

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