In a statement made by the senator, Blumenthal was quoted as saying, “Apple and Google have a lot of work to do to convince a rightfully skeptical public that they are fully serious about the privacy and security of their contact tracing efforts. I urgently want to know how Apple and Google will assure that consumers’ privacy interests are strongly balanced with the legitimate needs of public health officials during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Recently, Apple and Google shared how the contact tracing will work. It will rely on Bluetooth that will transmit information between devices when they are in close proximity with each other. When one person gets sick, it will then send out a notification alert to other people they were in contact with to let them know.
There will be consent required through every step of the way, where the user who is sick needs to give their consent for their broadcast beacons to be sent to the cloud. The identifiers will also be rotated and stored locally, meaning that unless the user gives their consent, then only will those identifiers be uploaded to the cloud.
Apple and Google will not be developing the apps themselves, but rather the API which can then be used by third-party developers. We imagine that its effectiveness will only be as good as people are willing to consent, meaning that if no one consents to share their information, then this initiative would be useless.