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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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In what appears to be a reversal of course, the BBC today reported that the United Kingdom's National Health Service will adopt Apple's and Google's Exposure Notification API for its COVID-19 contact tracing app after all.

exposure-text-feature-centered-1.jpg

Other countries that have committed to using the API include Italy, Latvia, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Apple released the API as part of iOS 13.5 last month. At the time, the company said that 22 countries had requested and received access to the API, along with the U.S. states of Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina.

Apple and Google created the API to allow iPhones and Android smartphones to interface with one another for contact tracing purposes. If and when you happen to be nearby someone who later tests positive for COVID-19, you can receive a notification and take the appropriate steps to self isolate and seek medical help if necessary.

The API relies on Bluetooth, is designed with privacy in mind, and is disabled by default. Read our Exposure Notification guide for more details.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: UK's Contact Tracing App Will Reportedly Use Apple/Google Solution After All
 
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afd

macrumors 65816
Apr 12, 2005
1,065
254
Scotland
From what I read, it would seem months ago, the app without the Google/Apple API would only work if phones were unlocked and app in the foreground? An app couldn’t receive a Bluetooth notification from another device unless that was the case. I presume that’s why there is this U turn. I’ve been surprised that none of the UK media have ever mentioned this when discussing the app and how it works or doesn’t.
 
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ck2875

macrumors 65816
Mar 25, 2009
1,001
2,634
Brighton
Apple released the API as part of iOS 13.5 last month. At the time, the company said that 22 countries had requested and received access to the API, along with the U.S. states of Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina.

It's kind of insane that this is being done on a state-level in the United States and not a larger undertaking by the CDC.
 
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laptech

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2013
695
1,037
Earth
I was under the impression Apple was being very restrictive with it's API hence why the UK government was not keen on using it and thus tried to make their own app. Now it would seem Apple has relaxed some of it's controls of the API but by the time that happened the UK government had already committed to making it's own tracing app.
 
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mazz0

macrumors 68030
Mar 23, 2011
2,554
2,210
Leeds, UK
Wow, Johnson must have a maxed out Constitution stat to not be throwing up after so many rapid u-turns. No wonder people call him a Con man!
 
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Dwalls90

Contributor
Feb 5, 2009
5,045
3,222
Amazing how avid Facebook, Google and Whatsapp users will not download this app, citing privacy.

In Italy we're at 2M downloads.

That’s because COVID is a hoax, remember? No way I’m giving up MY freedom to protect the health of myself and fellow citizens, but I’ll be damned if I can’t scroll through my newsfeed of Russia and China disinformation articles, while being tracked by tech giants!

/s
[automerge]1592487261[/automerge]
We are an absolute joke.

The US would like to have a word with you...
[automerge]1592487331[/automerge]
It's kind of insane that this is being done on a state-level in the United States and not a larger undertaking by the CDC.

That’s because what should be a national health issue has been politicized into a re-election campaign tactic.
 
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ssong

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2015
665
463
London, UK
I was under the impression Apple was being very restrictive with it's API hence why the UK government was not keen on using it and thus tried to make their own app. Now it would seem Apple has relaxed some of it's controls of the API but by the time that happened the UK government had already committed to making it's own tracing app.

The key contention point for the UK gov was that it wanted full control over the data vs what the API would allow.

The gov't wanted to centrally collect and store additional personal identifiable data, as well as the tracing data, and the gov't reserved the right to keep the personal identifiable data for up to 20 years and the contact tracing info for up to 5 years. Worse yet, they further indicated they wouldn't follow GDPR rules on the `right to be forgotten`.

Which is in direct contrast with the Google / Apple API which allowed users to use these apps without any personal identifiable info being stored else where and stored contact tracing data in a 14 day rolling period.

The further contention was that the UK gov't wished to have control over who was notified and when which again is in direct contrast to the Google / Apple API which would automatically notify users who have a match in the tracing logs through the API without any manual intervention.

While Immuni used in Italy is similar to the UK's original desired approach, Germany has chosen to go with Corona Warn App which is an open source project that could easily be applied to other countries.

In the grand scheme of things I don't particularly trust this gov't to do the right thing in terms of protecting user data given it's Dominic Cummings in no.10 as the chief advisor and with engineers with firms with questionable histories having direct / indirect ties to the original NHS app... It's a hard NO from me.

TBH, even IF the NHSX went with the Google / Apple API, I would want it to be open sourced and properly vetted before even considering to download it given the lack of trust I personally have in this gov't and the people that comprise it.

[EDIT]: As WalterTizzano pointed out Immuni is also an open sourced project on GitHub and while it does send some analytics and operation info to its own servers, it pledges not to collect any user identifiable data. Furthermore it will delete all local and remote stored data latest by end of this year so props.
 
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StandingGoose

macrumors member
Mar 24, 2017
53
45
Now it would seem Apple has relaxed some of it's controls of the API....
How so? The descriptions I've seen have been consistent about how it's to be used, and which agencies/groups would be allowed to distribute apps using the api.
 
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User 6502

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2014
402
1,289
The key contention point for the UK gov was that it wanted full control over the data vs what the API would allow.

The gov't wanted to centrally collect and store additional personal identifiable data, as well as the tracing data, and the gov't reserved the right to keep the personal identifiable data for up to 20 years and the contact tracing info for up to 5 years. Worse yet, they further indicated they wouldn't follow GDPR rules on the `right to be forgotten`.

Which is in direct contrast with the Google / Apple API which allowed users to use these apps without any personal identifiable info being stored else where and stored contact tracing data in a 14 day rolling period.

The further contention was that the UK gov't wished to have control over who was notified and when which again is in direct contrast to the Google / Apple API which would automatically notify users who have a match in the tracing logs through the API without any manual intervention.

While Immuni used in Italy is similar to the UK's original desired approach, Germany has chosen to go with Corona Warn App which is an open source project that could easily be applied to other countries.

In the grand scheme of things I don't particularly trust this gov't to do the right thing in terms of protecting user data given it's Dominic Cummings in no.10 as the chief advisor and with engineers with firms with questionable histories having direct / indirect ties to the original NHS app... It's a hard NO from me.

TBH, even IF the NHSX went with the Google / Apple API, I would want it to be open sourced and properly vetted before even considering to download it given the lack of trust I personally have in this gov't and the people that comprise it.
This is not correct. Immuni (the Italian app) uses Apple/Google APIs and it’s an open-source project hosted on github.
 
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jlwarlow

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2008
140
55
Leicestershire, UK
I wasn't planning on installing the app based on the centralised approach. Once the app is released based on Apple/Google's API I'm happy to install it.

Hopefully the countries who have released their apps based on the API will share their code with other countries. Releasing this app in time for winter seams a long time to wait to get it out when it could be useful.
 
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