COVID: Europe warms to the Apple-Google privacy protocols

From “Apple, Google Start to Win Over Europe to Their Virus-Tracking Technology” ($) in Monday’s Wall Street Journal:

The continent that helped lead a backlash against Silicon Valley’s appetite for personal data is increasingly aligning itself with technology built by Apple and Google to blaze a path out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Countries across Europe, like others in the developed world, are building their own smartphone apps to help conduct contact tracing. The aim of the apps is to help public-health officials identify and test everyone who has spent time near an infected person, to better understand and contain the virus.

European countries including Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have opted for or are considering technical standards for these apps that are developed by Apple and Google. In some cases, they have switched to the Silicon Valley model after first trying homegrown options…

In the U.S., the debate over what type of apps to build has focused in part on whether to collect and compare users’ locations using satellite-based tools embedded in most smartphones—something Apple and Google aren’t allowing with their exposure-notification system.

My take: Google’s reputation on the continent is getting a free power-cleaning on Apple’s dime.

See also: John Gruber calls for Post to retract Apple-Google article


  1. Fred Stein said:
    Tim Cook said the digital transformation of health services will be his legacy.

    This helps build social acceptance.

    May 18, 2020
  2. Brian Loftus said:
    I would like them to add an opt in – at the time both folks have tested positive – to the location of the apparent spread. There are bound to be differences in physicals designs that affect the spread of the coronavirus and finding hotspots of spread would be very helpful. If both users agree – I do not see the issue of privacy.

    May 18, 2020
    • John Butt said:
      This would invade privacy. Having location known could lead to “blame” games by design or accident of parties. Imagine a group with another agenda.
      That would quickly reduce the number of participants, the only way the app can work is to maximise participation

      May 18, 2020

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