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Apple rejects the requests of Germany and France to remove restrictions to the tracking app

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Published on Apr 25, 2020

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Apple rejects the requests of Germany and France to remove restrictions to the tracking app

The two giants of technology, the 10th April, have announced a joint initiative to develop a cross-platform framework at the level of the system for the traceability of contacts – a method to track, and possibly mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Similar techniques are explored by nations around the world, but many european countries are in disagreement with Apple and Google on how to proceed.

The voltages on the implementation of the tracking of the contacts are increased Friday, with Apple and Google who have rejected the demands of France and Germany to support their national efforts to create an app tracking and to alleviate the stringent restrictions on the privacy that the two companies have implemented in their API.

This deadlock is triggered by two main factors. The first, the Apple's iOS software has a security feature that prevents apps that send data via Bluetooth to use the protocol of short-range communication in the background. Without the ability to run in the background, the app's tracking of the contacts are severely hampered because users would be required to keep the app open and their phones unlocked.

Due to this reason, the two nations have prompted Apple to make an exception and revoke the security protocol, to allow to their app tracking contacts to work properly. The company, however, refused to comment.

The ability to use the Bluetooth in the background to check if a smartphone user is entered in contact with someone that is positive for the COVID-19 is one of the main features of the tracking system contacts Apple and Google, which will be a framework that the agencies of public health can use to create your own app.

But the two giants in technology requiring developers to handle the data in a decentralized manner, without the information that leave a user's device until they receive a diagnosis COVID-19 positive. Both companies seem to not want to opt out of these protocols.

“These privacy principles will not change,” said Gary Davis, director of global privacy at Apple. “Are the fundamental principles on privacy needed to make this work”.

The second reason is that France and Germany, together with the National Health Service of United Kingdom, have apparently opted for a centralized solution for tracking contacts with user data stored on a central server. For this reason, will not be able to use the API of Apple and Google, which brings those apps to the problem of Bluetooth in the background. Without that key feature, there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of the measures tracking of the two countries.

A French officer stated that the member states of the EU “have been completely held hostage by Google and Apple“.

Because most Countries want to collect data in a centralized server? What do you think?

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