Contact tracing and the italian app Immuni

Apple and Google are working together for the apps of contact tracing

Apple and Google are working together to fight the covid-19. The meaning is the one to create a useful technology to track the contacts between the people, in english contact tracing, through the apps developed by the governments, by respecting at the same time the privacy of the users.

Apple and Google together for the contact tracing

The main problem is that the two operating systems, Android and iOS, weren’t born to exchange informations between each other, otherwise, they are strongly closed. The two colossus though are working to create some API which are free and affordable for all the developers that have to create apps of contact tracing.

Infact the single governments are going to choose the best app to track the infections. And to try to further reduce them, with the hope to let the economy start again as soon as possible.

contact tracin
Google explains on the blog how the contact tracing works

Anyway to have a really efficient app we need that it’s both compatible regardless the operating system and that it will be able to get the informations from each smartphone we’ll meet.

Basically it’s about to use the bluetooth to exchange informations between the smartphones. And it’s right this technology that is one the base of the application chosen for the proof of tracking here in Italy, it’s called Immuni.

Google and Apple specified that they won’t save the informations of the contacts, but they will cooperate to create a technology that allows the interoperability between the devices Android and iOS.

In may the app should be ready. While right after this the two companies will continue the work by making available a larger platform where one could operate the apps of contact tracing and that will use the technology Bluetooth.

More than three billions of people use today a smartphone with the systems Android and iOS. For this reason the two companies decided to release a framework for the applications of public healthcare that are able to manage the functions Bluetooth.

How will the system work

In the moment when an user registered to the app becomes positive for the virus and upgrades this information on its app, it will send it to the national healthcare system. Now the datas will be crossed and all the people that were close to the user in the previous days will be informed.

This right thanks to the fact that when two people (with the app installed) met, the two bluetooths communicate between each other and record the data that they were in contact.

contact tracing
An example of how will work an app of contact tracing

So the infection tracking is more on time and it’s easier to understand how to limit them. The problem of the contact tracing though, as well as it happened with the chinese apps, it’s all about the privacy.

The italian app

The app chosen in Italy is called Immuni and it was designed by Bending Spoons together with the medical center Santagostino of Luca Foresti.

And it will be an important thing for the Phase 2. During which some commercial activities will be opened again and the circulation will be allowed even if with the obligation of the mask.

The contact tracing app will record the identification codes of the users with which it will be in contact. When a person results to be positive for the coronavirus the app sends the information to the health workers together with the list of the people under the risk. The risk is calculated according to the closeness of the two people and even about the last of the meeting.

Currently isn’t provide a GPS tracking, for the privacy, but we don’t have to exclude that afterward it will be added.

The Europe unlike the China imposed some guide lines for the app: anonymity, voluntariness and no geo localization. Domenico Arcuri, extraordinary commisioner for the emergency, hopes so in the massive volunteer joining of the italian citizens to not undermine the efforts of the current lockdown and to avoid a new wave of infection.

This post is also available in: Italiano

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