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The first app that takes advantage of the Exposure Notification API developed by Apple and Google has launched in Switzerland, according to a report from the BBC.

Exposure-Notifications-W-People-and-Text.jpg

A team of app developers working on contact tracing app called SwissCovid have rolled out the app in a beta capacity for members of the Swiss army, hospital workers, and civil servants. After the app is tested and approved by MPs, it will see a wider public rollout, which could happen by mid-June.

Latvia also soon plans to introduce an app that uses the API, but other European countries are hesitant. The digital affairs ministers for Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal recently published a joint letter that criticizes the Apple/Google API for the restrictions put in place, mainly the decentralized device-to-device notification approach and the lack of location data collection.

"The use of digital technologies must be designed in such a way that we, as democratically elected governments, evaluate it and judge it acceptable to our citizens and in accordance with our European values," read the letter. "We believe that challenging this right by imposing technical standards represents a misstep and a missed opportunity for open collaboration between governments and the private sector."

Apple released the Exposure Notification API as part of iOS 13.5 last week. At the time, Apple said that several U.S. states and 22 countries had requested and received access to the API, with more expected to join.

In the United States, there are no apps available that take advantage of Exposure Notification as of yet, but Alabama, South Carolina, and North Dakota all plan to use the API. The UK, Australia, multiple European states, and several U.S. states, such as Utah, have opted out of using the API.

The Exposure Notification feature in iOS 13.5 is deactivated by default and cannot be used without an app created by a public health authority. It is also privacy focused and collects no personally identifiable data or location information, with more details available in our Exposure Notification guide.

Article Link: First App Using Apple and Google's Exposure Notification API Launches in Switzerland
 

wbeasley

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2007
419
318
How strange many Euro countries are resistant because it DOESN'T collect location data.

The Australian government has been trying hard to convince people to install their COVISSafe app (not using Google/Apple tech) that it isn't about tracking people's movements. That app has reported apps and now seems stalled at 6,000,000 downloads - well under the first floated 10,000,000 required to actually be effective.

Many of us can't understand how the virus "knows" it's only dangerous if you have been close to someone for 15 minutes or more. Not 14 minutes. Given it can lie on surfaces for extended periods, hangs in the air for quite a while and just needs a sneeze from a passerby at the wrong time.

The fact so many health workers with proper PPE training and resources are still catching it while working would show it isn't that hard to catch.

This will be interesting to watch how other countries view the Apple/Google API.
 

dwsolberg

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2003
779
737
The fact so many health workers with proper PPE training and resources are still catching it while working would show it isn't that hard to catch.

1. Where do you get that information? I have read that health care workers are not disproportionately getting COVID-19.

2. There's a big difference between medical practice and the ordinary way people interact. I, for instance, have never emptied anyone's bedpan, asked someone to cough, intubated anyone, drew their blood, gave them medicines, helped them eat (and on and on). Those things require getting in people's space and potentially getting breathing in their breath. Also, if a person has COVID-19 and they're stuck in the same hospital room for hours or days, there is likely going to be a lot more virus hovering around then if they walk by you in the grocery store.
 

manu chao

macrumors 604
Jul 30, 2003
7,172
2,993
Many of us can't understand how the virus "knows" it's only dangerous if you have been close to someone for 15 minutes or more. Not 14 minutes. Given it can lie on surfaces for extended periods, hangs in the air for quite a while and just needs a sneeze from a passerby at the wrong time.
And many of us don‘t understand what your point is. Are you suggesting we test everybody within a 10-km radius of a confirmed infected person? Why not start with those that have been close to that person for more than X minutes?

What that X should be exactly depends on two factors:
1) In comparison with other methods identifying people to be tested (eg, via their professions) what average contact time produces the same likelihood of infection as, eg, people in certain professions currently have?
2) What is your current testing capacity (or budget to invest in it)? If you cannot test those that receive an exposure notification, they would need to self-isolate.

There are many unknowns that go into determining even just these two factors. But we cannot wait until we have perfect insight before implementing all the various counter-measures against COVID-19. We have to start with guesses and then refine them as we learn more and as the circumstances evolve. That 15 minutes is a guess and might very well change over time.

It’s like when you do body temperature checks to identify potentially infected people, you pick a temperature threshold even though you know it’s not going to be perfect. Some people have just naturally higher or lower temperatures than others. Some people won’t have any fever while still being infectious.
 

zz_nosa_r

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2015
227
135
Hell
Wait, why Australia “Opted Out”? Based on what i read in some aussie news, they are testing it. But no timeline yet when will it be or will it be incorporated in the current aussie covidsafe app as the app may need to be re-written.
 

mihike

macrumors member
Mar 30, 2016
53
32
NOPE. If you're scared, stay home. Everyone else, get busy living life.
Because spreading a disease that's already killed hundreds of thousands is... a joke? We could have been practically done with this by now if people had followed reasonable precautions (as they did in some countries). Now we have another reasonable and practical solution, but hey, spreading paranoia is more fun than getting the economy back on track and saving lives.
 

luvbug

macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2017
565
1,539
Getting closer every day!
Gov'ts don't like the API, because it doesn't give them the control they want. They really want to use the current climate of public fear to socialize the idea that they have "good" reasons to impinge upon our personal freedom and privacy, we just need to trust them. Right. I trust them about as far as I can throw them in a telephone booth (remember those?).
 

malkovich87

Suspended
May 13, 2020
157
263
I doubt a lot of people will be installing that in Switzerland. First of all, people really don’t trust the government with their data here. And secondly, if you get notified that you’ve been potentially exposed, you need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Except that the government decided that you’re not entitled to your salary during that time. So there’s that :)
 
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caric

macrumors newbie
Jun 17, 2009
5
3
Do you have to be in Switzerland to get the app? (Swiss App Store maybe?) I guess a better question is, can I get Alabama’s app even though I live in another state? I just need the app to be able to use the api. I live in a state which has already said they won’t support the api.
 
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malkovich87

Suspended
May 13, 2020
157
263
Do you have to be in Switzerland to get the app? (Swiss App Store maybe?) I guess a better question is, can I get Alabama’s app even though I live in another state? I just need the app to be able to use the api. I live in a state which has already said they won’t support the api.

as long as you can install it (it will only be released on the Swiss App Store) I don’t think you need to be in Switzerland. As they claim there won’t be any location logging they won’t know where you’re at anyway (allegedly). The question is: how useful is the app if you live in a state where the API won’t be available? If there’s nobody using it, it’s pointless.
 
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Maetzle

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2014
241
291
The "Stopp Corona" app of the Austrian Red Cross that has been out for a several weeks will start supporting the API soon as well.

Sadly the government ****ed that up already when they were talking about wether or not an app will be mandatory and how the data is going to be saved (central vs. decentralized). Luckily after an outcry they said it won't be mandatory and the Red Cross made the app open-source, but I'm pretty sure many people don't trust it anymore.
 
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malkovich87

Suspended
May 13, 2020
157
263
The "Stopp Corona" app of the Austrian Red Cross that has been out for a several weeks will start supporting the API soon as well.

Sadly the government ****ed that up already when they were talking about wether or not an app will be mandatory and how the data is going to be saved (central vs. decentralized). Luckily after an outcry they said it won't be mandatory and the Red Cross made the app open-source, but I'm pretty sure many people don't trust it anymore.

Same in Switzerland. They're assuring everyone that this is secure and no unnecessary data will be shared with the government - but nobody really trusts them. I mean they've wanted people to give their addresses to restaurant owners when eating out, and even that nobody does.
 
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bsolar

macrumors 65816
Jun 20, 2011
1,108
842
I doubt a lot of people will be installing that in Switzerland. First of all, people really don’t trust the government with their data here. And secondly, if you get notified that you’ve been potentially exposed, you need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Except that the government decided that you’re not entitled to your salary during that time. So there’s that :)
You are spreading misinformation. First of all, that "people really don't trust the government with their data here" is pretty much BS: don't generalize your personal opinion as some kind of fact.

Most important, in Switzerland if you get quarantined you definitely still get paid your salary. If you need, explanation in English:

If a mandatory quarantine on healthy, able-bodied people has been called by the authorities or your employer, your employer is still obliged to continue paying your wages


Switzerland was always against a centralized, privacy-infringing solution and was working on a decentralized, privacy-preserving solution long before Google and Apple came out with their own technology: actually their technology is inspired on that original effort:

According to Google, the Google / Apple contact tracing project was "heavily inspired" by the DP-3T protocol.

DP-3T stands for Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing, which is designed to do exactly what's on the tin.
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,716
236
San Francisco, CA
Sadly, I fear this is confirming my suspicion that this API won’t be utilized by enough people to be useful. It not only requires individual governments to create an app, but then millions of people have to purposefully download it. Meanwhile, more than half the country can’t even be bothered to wear masks. :rolleyes:

I really don’t understand why Apple and Google are waiting until Fall to build this into the OS—that’s really what gives this a chance to work, in my opinion.

I understand it would be costly, and perhaps result in other features being delayed... but these companies have more money that god, and is there really a more important feature right now?

How many lives are going to be lost because Apple/Google took 6+ months to launch this functionality as part of the OS?
 

brinary001

Suspended
Sep 4, 2012
991
1,134
Midwest, USA
Gov'ts don't like the API, because it doesn't give them the control they want. They really want to use the current climate of public fear to socialize the idea that they have "good" reasons to impinge upon our personal freedom and privacy, we just need to trust them. Right. I trust them about as far as I can throw them in a telephone booth (remember those?).
Hey can I borrow your tin foil hat? The gubment took mine :/
 

bsolar

macrumors 65816
Jun 20, 2011
1,108
842
I mean they've wanted people to give their addresses to restaurant owners when eating out, and even that nobody does.
Nobody gives the address to the restaurant because the address is not required, only name and tel. Furthermore the information is not given to government authorities, it's kept by the restaurant up to 14 days and must be destroyed afterwards.

More info here. (DE/FR/IT only).
 

gnasher729

Suspended
Nov 25, 2005
17,980
5,554
I doubt a lot of people will be installing that in Switzerland. First of all, people really don’t trust the government with their data here. And secondly, if you get notified that you’ve been potentially exposed, you need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Except that the government decided that you’re not entitled to your salary during that time. So there’s that :)
There are two possibilities to stop Covid: 1. Everyone stays at home. 2. Everyone close to someone infected stays at home. What do you prefer?

(There was a headline in the UK that if lockdown gets removed, and there is a spike of infections in some place, "whole villages" could be put in lockdown again. What do these people think? There are 100,000 villages in the UK, all in lockdown right now. If 10 go back into lockdown to make things safe for everyone, who cares? )
 
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CarlJ

Contributor
Feb 23, 2004
5,599
9,832
San Diego, CA, USA
Many of us can't understand how the virus "knows" it's only dangerous if you have been close to someone for 15 minutes or more. Not 14 minutes. Given it can lie on surfaces for extended periods, hangs in the air for quite a while and just needs a sneeze from a passerby at the wrong time.
First, the numbers are adjustable down the road. Likely without having to re-download the app (presumably they can push parameters from the head-end). And, second, once again, the sensing capability (Bluetooth proximity) isn’t accurate enough to perfectly tell if you’ve been exposed, but that’s okay, because it doesn’t have to catch every single transmission, in order to make a substantial impact.

There seems to be so much argument of the form, “well, it can’t be perfect, so therefore it’s useless.” That entirely misses the point. It doesn’t have to catch every single transmission, it just had to catch enough of them (combined with all the other measures), to help drive the R0 number (the average number of new people infected by each infected person) down well below 1.0. Doing that will eventually wipe out the pandemic (the lower the R0 number, the faster it disappears).

It’s just like with the masks - lots of people arguing, “masks don’t offer you perfect protection for reasons A, B, and C, so therefore don’t bother.” Again, wrong-headed thinking - masks offer some protection (more for those around you than for you yourself - protecting you involves everyone else wearing a mask, and vice versa), and therefore, they help drive down the R0 number, leading to the eventual defeat of the virus.
 

kopaszmercis

macrumors newbie
Apr 12, 2011
14
101
Many of us can't understand how the virus "knows" it's only dangerous if you have been close to someone for 15 minutes or more. Not 14 minutes.

The trick is you only need to catch X% of the people that have been infected. It doesn't need to be a 100% for the pandemic to be manageable. It's not that hard to understand why 15 and not 14.
 
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NiFa18

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2011
4
0
Sadly, I fear this is confirming my suspicion that this API won’t be utilized by enough people to be useful. It not only requires individual governments to create an app, but then millions of people have to purposefully download it. Meanwhile, more than half the country can’t even be bothered to wear masks. :rolleyes:

I really don’t understand why Apple and Google are waiting until Fall to build this into the OS—that’s really what gives this a chance to work, in my opinion.

I understand it would be costly, and perhaps result in other features being delayed... but these companies have more money that god, and is there really a more important feature right now?

How many lives are going to be lost because Apple/Google took 6+ months to launch this functionality as part of the OS?

I think the issue is that it is new. A lot of field testing is required to find potential shortcomings or issues. Very few apps utilize the API and have yet to be tested. I think that the OS activation will come after some countries tested the API with their apps. After that, the app of the corresponding government is only used to confirm a positive COVID case and everything else is handled by the OS in the background.

This means that somebody can activate the proximity tracing in the health privacy settings and receive/send these BLE hashes without having an app installed. You would get exposure notifications from the OS. You only need an official app from your government to confirm that you have tested positive to inform others.
 

threesixty360

macrumors 6502
May 2, 2007
461
828
i am struggling to understand why someone would input into the app that they are covid positive or have symptoms?

why exactly would anyone be responsible enough to do that and then not self quarantine anyway?

or will testing companies have to register your phone as positive or something??

not sure I get this.
 
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