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California’s Apple-Google API-Based Exposure Notification System Rolling Out on Thursday

California’s Apple-Google API-Based Exposure Notification System Rolling Out on Thursday

Exposure Notification Systems based on Apple and Google’s privacy-respecting API have been rolling out in many U.S. states as well as around the globe. This Thursday, California will join the ranks of states offering Exposure Notifications.

The state, the most populous state in the United States, has been testing “California COVID Notify” since earlier this year. This Thursday, Exposure Notifications will roll out to iPhone and Android users across the state.

How does it work?

Once you activate CA Notify, it does all the work. All you do is keep your Bluetooth on. You will only receive alerts if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Your privacy is protected as your identity is not known and your location is not tracked.

CA Notify uses the Exposure Notification Express system that Apple released in September alongside the release of iOS 13.7. Californian iPhone users can go to the Settings app, tap on Exposure Notifications, select the United States, and then choose California to opt-in with no need to download an app. Android users will need to download an app that will launch on December 10.

The ‌Exposure Notification‌ system for California will provide infrastructure, education, and support that includes a call center and public website. The system was developed by UC San Diego Health.

Users will be required to opt-in to participate and no one will be enrolled in the program without their consent. The system uses a device’s Bluetooth capabilities to interact with other smartphones of people you come in contact with, monitoring who you come in contact with.

If one of the other participants you’ve come in contact with is later diagnosed with COVID-19 and shares the positive diagnosis in the system, you’ll receive an alert that you have been possibly exposed, so you can follow the next steps as directed by California’s health department.

Californians will receive a notification when they’re within six feet of a confirmed COVID positive individual for a period of 15 minutes or more.

The Apple – Google ‌Exposure Notification‌ system was designed with privacy in mind. GPS data and personal identifiers are not collected, and only anonymous keys are transmitted and shared with others.

Your privacy is protected. The California COVID Notify Privacy Policy is available at https://covid19.ca.gov/notify/#privacy. Your GPS location data and personal identifiers are never collected or shared with other users. Your phone shares anonymous keys (randomly generated strings of numbers) with other users via Bluetooth. The only data collected by the app are the anonymous keys, Bluetooth signal strength, date, and duration of proximity. This information is not linked to your identity or location.

California joins the ranks of many other states that have implemented Exposure Notifications. Those states include Virginia, North Dakota, Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, Alabama, Colorado, Wyoming, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Washington, Connecticut, Nevada, and the District of Columbia.