President Trump claims Google and Apple's technology for detecting COVID-19 poses "big constitutional problems" for "a lot of people." The US president made the remark during a White House press briefing on Monday, adding that the issue would be discussed over the next four weeks. Google and Apple are partnered last week to create a contact-tracing system for detecting the spread of coronavirus, which will gradually be rolled out in the coming months. It's not clear what specific constitutional problems Trump thinks the tech poses, but the two firms say it requires explicit user consent and does not collect personally identifiable information. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
President Trump said Google and Apple's technology for detecting COVID-19 poses "big constitutional problems" for "a lot of people." The US president made the remark during a White House press briefing on Monday, adding that the issue would be discussed over the next four weeks. On Friday, Google and Apple announced a partnership that will see them create a Bluetooth-driven contact-tracing system for detecting the spread of coronavirus, which will gradually be rolled out in the coming months. The basic idea is to alert people if they have come into contact with someone infected with the virus. Discussing this tech, and how it might be used, Trump said: "We have more of a constitutional problem than a mechanical problem, but we will be making a determination on that. That's something we're gonna be discussing with a lot of people over the next four weeks. That would be a very accurate way of doing it, but a lot of people have a problem with it." It's not clear what specific constitutional problems Trump thinks the tech poses, but the firms say it will require explicit user consent and does not collect personally identifiable information. People who test positive for COVID-19 will not be identified to other users, Google, or Apple. The partnership would enable iOS and Android devices to communicate using apps from public-health authorities. with the firms initially aiming to release a set of APIs in May that would enable interoperability between Android and iOS. Then, over the coming months, the firms hope to build a broader, more robust platform for tracking the spread through Bluetooth technology that users can opt in to.SEE ALSO: Apple and Google are teaming up to create a way for your smartphone to alert you if you've come into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos reportedly just spent $165 million on a Beverly Hills estate — here are all the ways the world's richest man makes and spends his money
More like this (3)
Trump looks to temporarily bar US citizens returning from abroad if they're suspected of having COVID-19
President Donald Trump wants to temporarily bar US citizens and permanent residents from entering the country...President Donald Trump wants to temporarily bar US citizens and permanent residents from entering the country if they are suspected of having the coronavirus, The New York Times reported on Monday. A draft proposal said that if a border official "reasonably believes that the individual either may have been exposed to or is infected with the communicable disease," they could be barred from entering. The draft did not specify how long the restriction would last. The Times added that it's still not clear whether a measure like this would be constitutional. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump is looking to temporarily bar US citizens and permanent residents from entering the country if they are suspected of having the coronavirus, The New York Times reported on Monday. Trump proposed that citizens be denied entry to the US if a border official "reasonably believes that the individual either may have been exposed to or is infected with the communicable disease." The proposal was sent to federal agencies that have until Tuesday to provide feedback, The Times reported. The president had previously banned nonresidents from several countries, including many European nations from entering the US due to coronavirus concerns. The Times obtained a copy of the proposal draft and reported that the document clearly says that any order that would block a legal resident or citizen from coming into the country has to "include appropriate protections to ensure that no Constitutional rights are infringed." The proposal however did not specify how long someone would be barred from entering the US. An official familiar with the discussions told Insider the proposal is part of the Trump administration's overall approach to mitigating the spread of the virus, and could change before it is finalized. Some countries, including South Korea, have implemented mandatory quarantines for those traveling into the country to help limit the spread of the virus. According to The Times, the document specifically addresses the border with Mexico, a region that Trump has tried to control since the beginning of his first term, as part of a broader agenda to limit immigration. The proposal claims that the coronavirus has strained Mexico's healthcare system and is forcing Mexicans to seek care in the US, the newspaper reported. Mexico has so far recorded more than 480,000 coronavirus cases with over 52,000 deaths. In the US, more than 5 million cases have been recorded and over 163,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to data from John Hopkins.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
Government will switch to contact-tracing model preferred by tech giants in latest embarrassing U-turnCoronavirus – latest...Government will switch to contact-tracing model preferred by tech giants in latest embarrassing U-turnCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe NHS has abandoned a near three month attempt to build a centralised coronavirus contact-tracing app and will instead switch to the model preferred by the technology firms Apple and Google.The embarrassing U-turn comes after officials concluded it was technically impossible to create an effective app that did not conform to the Google and Apple model, but that a straight switch to their model would not solve all the problems. Continue reading...
Apple is locked in a power battle with the UK, France, and Germany about how COVID-19 should be tracked
There's a power battle between the UK, Germany, and France on one side and Apple and...There's a power battle between the UK, Germany, and France on one side and Apple and Google on the other about coronavirus contact-tracing. Like other countries, the UK, Germany, and France are creating apps that will track people who report COVID-19 symptoms or test positive and then alert those they have had contact with. The fight centers on how much data these apps gather up and where that information is stored, with Apple and Google pushing for a more privacy-friendly approach. If France, Germany, and the UK try and roll out their apps in defiance of Apple and Google, there's a good chance they won't work properly, particularly on iPhones. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The UK, France, and Germany are locked in a power battle with Apple and Google over the way COVID-19 should be tracked via apps. Like other nations, the three countries are racing to launch apps that would rely on signals broadcast via Bluetooth to monitor the spread of COVID-19. Broadly, this is how such apps will probably work: if someone running the app reports coronavirus symptoms and tests positive, the app will alert people who may have had contact with them over the previous 14 days. These people can then go for testing themselves. It's a digital form of "contact-tracing," an established way for public health authorities to find and notify people with exposure to a disease. The current fight centers on how much data these apps gather up and where that information is stored, with Apple and Google pushing for a highly privacy-friendly approach. Contact-tracing is an established way of monitoring disease outbreak, and it's becoming digital during coronavirus Contact-tracing has conventionally been performed manually, but with global smartphone penetration averaging out at an estimated 80%, using apps may make more sense. The risk here is that individual countries each put out their own apps based on wildly different privacy protocols and technologies, ending up in a piecemeal approach and increased surveillance. Most people in western Europe certainly aren't used to any form of pervasive tracking by authorities. Apple and Google, being the dominant providers of smartphone software as the makers of iOS and Android, respectively, have sought to unify the approach by jointly creating an API. Public health authorities and governments can base any contact-tracing apps they build on Apple and Google's API, making for a consistent, privacy-friendly approach. You can read about the Google-Apple API and how it works here. The issue is that Apple and Google have indicated they will only permit apps that meet their privacy standards to use their API, and not every country seems to agree with those standards. Similarly, Google and Apple unveiled their joint API after several countries began building their apps. The tension lies in how, exactly, contact-tracing apps collect information and where they store it. The UK, Germany, and France are pursuing a centralized approach not currently permitted by Apple and Google The UK has not revealed in-depth technical details of its app. Still, expert sources with knowledge of its development, and public statements indicate that authorities want to be able to collect and analyze more data than the tech giants are comfortable with. If apps collect more data than basic privacy-preserving identifiers, it would almost certainly need to be stored in a centralized way by health authorities or governments, experts told Business Insider. This is what Apple and Google oppose, instead favouring a decentralized approach. "I am worried about function creep," said Eerke Boiten, cybersecurity professor at De Montfort University. "You shouldn't collect more data than you need to in the first place, which is known as data minimization." Professor Boiten added that if, in the UK, the NHS simply wanted to send out alerts to people about possibly being infected, there would be zero reason to store that information centrally. But it sounds like the UK wants people to put more information about themselves into the contact-tracing app. NHSX, the arm of the NHS developing app, said in a blogpost on Friday: "In future releases of the app, people will be able to choose to provide the NHS with extra information about themselves to help us identify hotspots and trends. "Those of us who agree to provide this extra information will be playing a key role in providing additional information about the spread of COVID-19 that will contribute towards protecting the health of others and getting the country back to normal in a controlled way, as restrictions ease." Boiten said: "The NHS app announcement includes a statement that people can choose to give the app additional information. That's an inherently centralized idea." Professor Ross Anderson, a University of Cambridge computer scientist who advised the government on the app, previously told BI that UK authorities wanted to collect more information to conduct "fine-grained" contact-tracing to enable epidemiologists to take more effective action in response to COVID-19. As it stands, none of these apps will probably work on the iPhone Why does this all apparently technical quibbling matter? The governments could simply go ahead and launch apps based on their preferred protocols and technology. But here they run into the global power of these two tech giants, and the fact they have the entire 3.5 billion smartphone ecosystem tied up. The way France, the UK, and Germany's contact-tracing apps are thought to work means that they would require phones to scan for Bluetooth signals continuously. It is not something permitted on the iPhone, which only allows such scanning if an app is open and running on your phone screen. If you swipe away from the app or lock your phone, the scanning stops. To get the app to work correctly, you would need to have it running all the time on your unlocked phone — itself a privacy and theft risk. This effectively renders Bluetooth contact-tracing apps useless — and it's been a key problem for Singapore's TraceTogether app, which was only downloaded by about a sixth of the population, according to The Economist. And yet the success of contact-tracing apps relies on the bulk of the population using them. An Oxford study says the NHS app will need to target 60% of the population to be effective. Here is where the Apple-Google API comes in. The two firms will make an exception on this Bluetooth-scanning restriction for contact-tracing apps that meet their privacy standards. Obey our privacy standards and your Bluetooth contact-tracing app will work, is the message to governments. While privacy advocates have praised the Apple-Google approach, which should ensure governments aren't spying on you more than they need to, some countries appear to dislike the restrictions. France, as first reported by Bloomberg, has lobbied Apple to permit its Bluetooth-powered contact-tracing app saying that the current restrictions mean its app won't work correctly. Per TechCrunch's reporting, Germany also appears to be pushing for a more centralized approach with its app, which will do more than just issue alerts. Reuters reported that Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel is in talks with Apple. And sources told Business Insider earlier this month that the UK was likewise lobbying Apple to permit the current version of its app. It's possible European countries will fall in line with Apple and Google Sources with knowledge of the UK's app development expect the NHS to rewrite the contact-tracing app to abide by Apple and Google's rules, but public statements so far mean this is still ambiguous. NHSX said on Friday: "We are working with Apple and Google on their welcome support for tracing apps around the world." This, according to both Profs. Anderson and Boiten, is not a guarantee the NHS will reconfigure its app. "That is a little unclear, because of the way they have phrased it," said Professor Boiten. "You could [take it to mean] they'll connect directly to the Google-Apple proposal, which would be good, but it could also mean they realize that for the app to work they need to collaborate with Google and Apple, and so [add to] the French pressure on Apple." Anderson said: "I expect that the UK, French, and German governments are still arguing with Google and Apple behind the scenes." A further complication is that other European countries have backed a decentralized technical solution, called Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T). This does align with Google and Apple's requirements. Estonia, Austria, and Switzerland will all base their apps on the DP-3T protocol. Meanwhile, Apple and Google plan to launch an early version of their contact-tracing API for developers as early as next week. All of this may prompt the UK, France, and Germany to change up their approach. And it would be another indication of Apple and Google's global power. As Logan Finucan, senior manager of data and trust for Access Partnership notes: "None of this would be possible without the technology these companies provide. I don't think it is entirely unreasonable for Google and Apple to refuse to be deputized to carry out state surveillance. Because if France can do it, then China and Iran want it too, which could enable harms we don't want on a much larger scale. "At the end of the day, while governments will be accountable to their citizens, technology providers will be responsible to their consumers. If people don't trust the technology, they won't use it, and that helps no one."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Tax Day is now July 15 — this is what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time