Exposure Notifications: Using technology to help public health authorities fight COVID‑19
Google and Apple jointly created the Exposure Notifications System out of a shared sense of responsibility to help governments and our global community fight this pandemic through contact tracing.
The benefits of contact tracing Contact tracing is a technique used by public health authorities to contact and give guidance to anyone who may have been exposed to a person who has contracted COVID-19. This technique will be an essential part of transitioning back to daily life while managing the risk of further outbreaks.
How Exposure Notifications can help Traditional methods of contact tracing are critical to containing the spread of infection. Technology can support and augment these efforts by allowing public health authorities to quickly notify people who may have been exposed to a person who has contracted COVID-19, including those the person might not know directly. This starts with Exposure Notifications on your smartphone, which enable contact tracing apps to send you a notification if you’ve likely been exposed to COVID-19. Contact tracing apps will be developed by your local public health authority, not by Google or Apple. Designed to protect your privacy
We understand that the success of this approach depends on people feeling confident that their private information is protected. The Exposure Notifications System was built with your privacy and security central to the design. Your identity is not shared with other users, Google, or Apple.
How this technology works
Public health authorities around the world are building apps that use the Exposure Notifications System to help their contact tracing efforts. You can find the app for your area (if available) in your app store.
Once you opt-in to the notification system, the Exposure Notifications System will generate a random ID for your device. To help ensure these random IDs can’t be used to identify you or your location, they change every 10-20 minutes. Your phone and the phones around you will work in the background to exchange these privacy-preserving random IDs via Bluetooth. You do not need to have the app open for this process to take place. Your phone periodically checks all the random IDs associated with positive COVID-19 cases against its own list. If there’s a match, the app will notify you with further instructions from your public health authority on how to keep you and the people around you safe. Exposure Notifications and your privacy
We understand how important your privacy is. Here’s how we’ve built this system to respect your privacy and keep you in control.
You control whether you receive Exposure Notifications This technology only works if you decide to opt-in. If you change your mind, you can turn it off at any time. The Exposure Notifications System does not collect or use the location from your device. It uses Bluetooth, which can be used to detect if two devices are near each other — without revealing where the devices are. Neither Google, Apple, nor other users can see your identity. All of the Exposure Notification matching happens on your device. The system does not share your identity with other users, Apple, or Google. Public health authorities may ask you for additional information, such as a phone number, to contact you with additional guidance. Only public health authorities can use this system Access to the technology will be granted only to apps from public health authorities. Their apps must meet specific criteria around privacy, security, and data use.
Helpful links and specs