Canada launching national contact tracing app built with Apple-Google API

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in General Discussion
Canada will launch a nationwide contact tracing app using the Apple-Google Exposure Notification framework, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The Apple-Google Exposure Notification API exited beta in May. It allows public health authorities to build deeply integrated, cross-platform contact tracing apps to track and curb the spread of coronavirus.

The Canadian app was developed by Shopify, BlackBerry and the government of Ontario. As is required by Apple and Google, the app will be completely voluntary, will only store data in a decentralized manner and will be led by the Canadian Digital Service Initiative, iPhoneInCanada reported.

It will first launch in Ontario on a testing basis, before rolling out nationally in Canada.

Canada's announcement closely follows a similar one from the U.K., who said Thursday that they would ditch their proprietary system in favor of the Apple-Google framework. Other countries that have pledged to use the Exposure Notification API include Germany, Latvia and Switzerland.

Along with strict opt-in, privacy and data security policies for users, the Apple-Google API allows public health officials to build apps that can operate in the background. Apps built without the framework need to remain open to function properly.

As of writing, no U.S. state has developed an app using the Apple-Google API, although several have signaled that they plan to. Some states, like Utah, have opted for their own solutions with varying levels of privacy.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Good job, Canada! I'm looking forward to downloading it.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,567member
    My first reaction was FINALLY!
    Then I thought about it. The virus really got going in March. That’s only three months ago. Three months to put together, test and debug, something like this is actually very fast. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,531member
    DAalseth said:
    My first reaction was FINALLY!
    Then I thought about it. The virus really got going in March. That’s only three months ago. Three months to put together, test and debug, something like this is actually very fast. 
    Not to mention that the API only exited beta and was available to public health agencies about a month ago.  Though I'm assuming that companies who work regularly with Apple and Google had access a bit sooner.
    DAalsethwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Now the national apps that support the Apple/Google-API must also learn to work together internationally. :)
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,061member
    Would someone, please, develop a generic version? Apple? Google?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    DAalseth said:
    My first reaction was FINALLY!
    Then I thought about it. The virus really got going in March. That’s only three months ago. Three months to put together, test and debug, something like this is actually very fast. 
    Weren't companies already working on this concept prior to Covid-19? I believe previous pandemics inspired the development and Covid-19 sped it up.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 17
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,611member
    cpsro said:
    Would someone, please, develop a generic version? Apple? Google?
    I'm really not sure what you mean by this. The API *is* the generic version. It's not a full app, but it is the entire engine. Countries build their own interface around it, but the data it collects is the same.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 17
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,567member
    DAalseth said:
    My first reaction was FINALLY!
    Then I thought about it. The virus really got going in March. That’s only three months ago. Three months to put together, test and debug, something like this is actually very fast. 
    Weren't companies already working on this concept prior to Covid-19? I believe previous pandemics inspired the development and Covid-19 sped it up.
    Wouldn't be surprised if concepts and ideas were being tossed around, but I doubt any major front burner development was happening. Nothing like a fire to make people realize they need a hose.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 965member
    chasm said:
    cpsro said:
    Would someone, please, develop a generic version? Apple? Google?
    I'm really not sure what you mean by this. The API *is* the generic version. It's not a full app, but it is the entire engine. Countries build their own interface around it, but the data it collects is the same.
    It's not the entire engine by any means -- it can't be. Contract tracing is much more than who you might have been close to, which is all the API supports. Tracers need to give guidelines for isolation and quarantine, must help with support during quarantine, making continual contact over many days, alternative housing if necessary, etc. The API won't offer any help for identifying contacts who are not running software supporting the API -- which will be almost everybody at first. 

    There is quite a lot of development that could go into a Contact Tracing app that has nothing to do with the Apple Google API. 
    edited June 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    It isn't possible to do contact tracing using the Apple-Google thingee.   It's merely a voluntary exposure notification system -- which is why they renamed it such.  
    Calling a goose a swan doesn't make it a swan.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Why not extend the exposure notification to other infectious deseases, like flew, measles, tubercolosis, etc.? This could actually be useful to fight many deseases...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Why not extend the exposure notification to other infectious deseases, like flew, measles, tubercolosis, etc.? This could actually be useful to fight many deseases...

    We have been doing contact tracing for many, many decades.   It is one of the reasons why STDs are less prevalent than they once were.
    But, now we have a new infection and the ability to advance from the horse and buggy era to using efficient and effective modern technology that could literally save tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives.   But, will we use it?   Or instead, will we stick our heads in the sand and hope this all just goes away like the monster under our beds does in the morning?
  • Reply 13 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,509member
    Why not extend the exposure notification to other infectious deseases, like flew, measles, tubercolosis, etc.? This could actually be useful to fight many deseases...

    We have been doing contact tracing for many, many decades.   It is one of the reasons why STDs are less prevalent than they once were.
    But, now we have a new infection and the ability to advance from the horse and buggy era to using efficient and effective modern technology that could literally save tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives.   
    Example?
  • Reply 14 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    gatorguy said:
    Why not extend the exposure notification to other infectious deseases, like flew, measles, tubercolosis, etc.? This could actually be useful to fight many deseases...

    We have been doing contact tracing for many, many decades.   It is one of the reasons why STDs are less prevalent than they once were.
    But, now we have a new infection and the ability to advance from the horse and buggy era to using efficient and effective modern technology that could literally save tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives.   
    Example?

    Look it up GoogleGuy
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    I read in the above 14 posting much speculation about privacy protection tracing apps, and, specifically, about the GAEN API.  A European initiative to develop a contact tracing app, the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing Initiative (PEPP-PT), had existed before GAEN.  In fact, it was only when an offshoot of that initiative, the Decentralised Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project (D3-PT) led by the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology ETHZ and EPFL approached Apple requesting permission to access the Bluetooth LE chip directly, and Apple decide to cease development of its own app, and Google did the same, leading to the GAEN API.  The Swiss Covid app has been in test for over one month, and will be released to the public as soon as the Swiss Parliament approves a proposed law governing the use of it, probably on June 25. So any country that is contemplating using the GAEN API could easily examine the Open Source code and documentation of the Swiss app and modify the code to its specific needs.  The code and documentation are available here:  github.com/D3-PT.

    Regarding whether the app traces or "only" provides exposure notification:  As designed, it only notifies users when they might have been infected by someone using the app who has been tested positive and has agreed to upload ephemeral IDs (EphIDs) that it broadcast during the period in which he was infectious to a central backend.  The EphIDs are random messages that contain no data that can be traced to the operator of app.  App installation discover whether their operators should be notified by downloading all new EphIDs and comparing it to a list of broadcast EphIDs that it has "heard".  Each installation has saved enough data on the "contact" (i.e., EphID, signal attenuation and time epoch) to enable it to calculate an exposure risk.  The Swiss app, at least, makes no effort, either to ensure that infected persons go into isolation, nor to advise health authorities about users who it has warned.  This is by design.  Read more about the app and D3-PT in the documentation on GitHub.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,509member
    gatorguy said:
    Why not extend the exposure notification to other infectious deseases, like flew, measles, tubercolosis, etc.? This could actually be useful to fight many deseases...

    We have been doing contact tracing for many, many decades.   It is one of the reasons why STDs are less prevalent than they once were.
    But, now we have a new infection and the ability to advance from the horse and buggy era to using efficient and effective modern technology that could literally save tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives.   
    Example?

    Look it up GoogleGuy
    OK, I looked up your previous answers as you suggested.
    It's easy, all we have to do is use the right tech in a common-sense way. It's not rocket science. Simple-minded ideologues will never get it.  

    So out on this one too. 
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 17 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Why not extend the exposure notification to other infectious deseases, like flew, measles, tubercolosis, etc.? This could actually be useful to fight many deseases...

    We have been doing contact tracing for many, many decades.   It is one of the reasons why STDs are less prevalent than they once were.
    But, now we have a new infection and the ability to advance from the horse and buggy era to using efficient and effective modern technology that could literally save tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives.   
    Example?

    Look it up GoogleGuy
    OK, I looked up your previous answers as you suggested.
    It's easy, all we have to do is use the right tech in a common-sense way. It's not rocket science. Simple-minded ideologues will never get it.  

    So out on this one too. 

    Maybe you better find a better search engine GoogleGuy
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