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Google and Apple’s contact-tracing API could be coming next week

The contact-tracing API being developed by Google and Apple could be out to developers next week, according to a report published in French newspaper Les Echos.

European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton told the paper that Apple CEO Tim Cook said an early version of the tech would be available to developers on April 28.

Digital Trends reached out to Google and Apple to confirm the release of the API (application programming interface). We will update when we have more information.

The new system from Google and Apple will be voluntary and have protections in place for privacy. It will allow users to share their status with health authorities, who can then contact anyone who passed within that user’s Bluetooth range. The system could be crucial in helping states ease quarantine restrictions while keeping the public safe.

The API is based on the idea of contact tracing to stop the spread of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

When contact tracing, public health officials talk to those who are infected to find who they may have been in contact with. Investigators then contact those people and advise them to self-quarantine. If any of those people develop symptoms, investigators repeat the process until the outbreak is contained.

This process allows authorities to isolate chains of infection.

South Korea used digital contact tracing to successfully contain the disease, drawing on GPS data, surveillance cameras, and more to keep track of the movements of infected people and quickly alert anyone who had come in contact with them.

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