Apple and Google officially made their contact tracing software available with iOS 13.5 for local health authorities to create COVID-19 contact tracing apps. As we previously reported, US states are lagging in offering supported apps but Italy appears to be one of the first countries to launch its app based on Apple and Google’s security and privacy-focused Exposure Notifications to offer digital contact tracing for coronavirus.
We’ve covered how Apple’s Exposure Notification software works in-depth and done thorough reporting on the US states that are planning to implement the API but the highlights are that it works via anonymous Bluetooth tokens that are automatically randomized, data is encrypted, no GPS/location data is collected, all-processing is done on device, and the entire system is opt-in. At this point, we haven’t seen any supported apps launch in the US yet, but four states so far say they are planning to.
Today Italy has launched one of the first apps built on Apple/Google’s contact tracing API called Immuni (via Federico Viticci). Here’s how Italy’s Ministry of Health describes the app:
Immuni is the official exposure notification app of the Italian government, developed by the Extraordinary Commissioner for the COVID-19 Emergency, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Innovation Technology and Digitalization. The app is developed and released in full compliance with the protection of the user’s personal data and with current legislation, including the law-decree of April 30, 2020, n. 28.
The app does a good job of clearly explaining all of the privacy and security measures used as users set it up and reminds users it is not a substitute for a doctor and does not diagnose for COVID-19 but rather that it is a “valuable tool in the fight against this horrendous epidemic.”
The Italian government also reiterates that Immuni is opt-in but that the more people that use it, the more effective it will be.
Immuni is a valuable tool in the fight against this horrendous epidemic, and every single user increases its overall effectiveness. It is strongly recommended to install the app, use it correctly, and encourage friends and loved ones to do likewise. However, nobody is compelled to use it. It is entirely the individual’s choice.
Federico also shared some screenshots of how it looks on iPhone settings for Exposure Notifications when a supported app is enabled:
Immuni, the Italian government's #COVID19 contact-tracing app based on the Apple-Google API, is now out. The app does not use GPS.
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) June 1, 2020
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