All 27 members of the European Union now seem set to adopt the Apple/Google coronavirus contact tracing API.

The European Commission last week said that all EU countries should adopt the same app or at least a common standard known as the Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) platform …

At that point, it seemed like the EU might develop its own approach, but it is today hinting that it will instead use the Apple/Google API. Reuters reports.

Chris Boos, who is championing the PEPP-PT technology platform, says [the API] can help shorten the path to deployment.

“We need to worry less about operating system stability and device calibration,” Boos, the founder of German business process automation startup Arago, said in written answers to Reuters.

It’s still not a done deal. Boos also said that he sees benefits to a so-called centralized model, where all of the data is held on a server. The Apple/Google API is very deliberately a decentralized approach, where data is held only on the phone itself unless the owner (a) tests positive and (b) gives permission for their Bluetooth contact codes to be uploaded.

“A centralized model offers such much better pandemic management potential without infringing privacy,” Boos said.

“But it should be a country’s choice. You can gather the same data on top of a decentralized model – it just means more people have to move data on infected people.”

We should learn more on Friday when PEPP-PT is due to issue a progress report.

It would make a huge amount of sense for the EU to adopt the Apple/Google API, not least because this offers the highest privacy standard. Given the importance of persuading as many people as possible to use the apps, reassuring them on privacy will be crucial.

We recently outlined the messages Apple and Google need to communicate in order to allay fears about the technology.

The Cupertino company is also making anonymized Apple Maps mobility data available to health authorities to help them track the effectiveness of lockdown measures.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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