European Union industry chief Thierry Breton told Apple CEO Tim Cook to ensure that mobile apps to limit the spread of coronavirus work on its iPhones and other devices, while the company faces some issues with France on its privacy safeguards, reports Reuters.
Breton urged Apple to work constructively with national health authorities to ensure that contact tracing apps developed by national governments work on its devices.
France wants Apple to remove a technical obstacle in iOS that it says is delaying a government contract-tracking app designed to contain the COVID-19 spread. The operating system prevents such apps that use its Bluetooth tech from running constantly in the background if that data is going to be moved off the device. The limit is designed to protect user privacy.
Apparently, the French government doesn’t want to use the contact-tracking tech that Apple is jointly developing with Google. On April 10, Apple and Google announced a joint effort to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of COVID-19. They’ll launch a solution that includes APIs and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy
First, in May, both companies will release application programming interfaces [APIs] that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores. Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.