No more location tracking in contact tracing apps


Apple and Google together planned to introduce a new contact tracing app especially for fighting against COVID-19. It will send notifications to contacts about nearby people who get a positive confirmation in the COVID-19 test. The companies plan to introduce this contact tracing system only for public health authorities’ usage. But the latest techie news says that Apple and Google ban location tracking considering privacy. As well as averting governments from making use of the system to collect data of citizens.

Contact Tracing Apps

Many companies have implemented their own contact tracing apps with GPS location tracking integrated. However, the previous contact tracing apps of both Google and Apple have GPS location tracking. But this time, they have planned to use only Bluetooth signals from mobile phones to identify COVID-19 encounters.

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Henceforth, Google and Apple will have only one contact tracing app for a specific country. In case there is a need for more contact tracing apps according to requests from different regions, then more apps can be allowed to use. However, the official coronavirus app-related developers in various states of the US will be allowed to use GPS location data integrated with the new contact tracing tool.

Why Apple and Google took this sudden decision?

Google and Apple took this decision of never using the GPS location data of citizens in the new contact tracking system, which public health authorities require. Reason, it creates sensitive problems and battery-draining issues. To find a long-term solution for these problems, both the companies have come to this decision.

What challenges both the companies might face by disabling GPS location?

Besides security and privacy reasons, due to enabling Bluetooth, the phone battery dries out. Also, there are chances that people may turn off Bluetooth. Then it becomes difficult for public health authorities to keep track of COVID-19 victims. Moreover, users should remember to turn on Bluetooth, otherwise, it is quite challenging to trace contacts.

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Consequently, there are statements by other companies, who have released contact tracing apps.  They will retain the GPS location tracking system inbuilt in the app, as it operates effectively to date. Moreover, they have told that tech giants such as Google and Apple can think of any other effective feature more than the one which is already in existence. Also, few other companies do not track the GPS location of users through using contact tracing apps, but at the same time, they do not have any ideas so far to adopt the system that Google and Apple have planned.

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In one way even if it makes the new contact tracing app quite a time consuming to reach among users, it will definitely help public health authorities to support and treat the COVID-19 victims immediately. However, initially, it could be difficult to detect victims without appropriate GPS location data, still, we look forward that the contact tracing app helps all beat the devil.