Switzerland has launched the first app that takes advantage of the COVID-19 Exposure Notification API developed by Apple and Google.
The BBC reports a team of developers have rolled out the “SwissCovid” app in a beta capacity for members of the Swiss army, hospital workers, and civil servants. If all goes well in beta testing and the app is approved by MPs, it will see a public rollout as early as mid-June.
Latvia also has plans to soon unveil an app that uses the API, but other European countries have held back on adopting the API, and continue to criticize Apple and Google for the privacy-protecting restriction the tech giants have put in place, such as the API’s decentralized device-to-device notification approach and the lack of location data collection.
“The use of digital technologies must be designed in such a way that we, as democratically elected governments, evaluate it and judge it acceptable to our citizens and in accordance with our European values,” read the letter. “We believe that challenging this right by imposing technical standards represents a misstep and a missed opportunity for open collaboration between governments and the private sector.”
The Exposure Notification API was released last week as part of Apple’s iOS 13.5 update. Apple says several U.S. states and 22 countries have requested and received access to the API, with more expected to join shortly.
Alabama, South Carolina, and North Dakota all plan to use the API. Meanwhile, the U.K., Australia, numerous other European countries, and several U.S. states, such as Utah, have developed their own solutions.
iOS 13.5’s privacy-focused Exposure Notification feature is deactivated by default, and cannot be used in an app unless it is created by a public health authority. It collects no personally identifiable data or location information.