Using the Apple and Google contact tracing technology for other use cases (possible?)

Dear Developers,

I am quite new to Swift, iOS development and the GitHub community and I just wanted to ask if it would be possible to use the new contact tracing technology for other apps than official government covid19 tracking applications?

From what I have found only government officials can use the technology.

We would like to build an app that shows you a list of people/devices that were nearby within the last 24 hours.

The Bluetooth proximity technology used for the coivd19 applications sounds like the best solution for an app like that.

If it is not possible to use Bluetooth contact tracing for this use case which other technology could you think of?

Thanks a lot! :slight_smile:

It’s not, it’s been deliberately designed not to be: Bluetooth isn’t particularly well suited for distance measurements, those are just guesses from signal strength, which can be massively messed up by the environment (there’s been a fascinating study on light rail trains). The point of using Bluetooth measurements is that they work without collecting location data, just proximity. And the protocol is meant to make it impossible to identify specific devices that have been near you.

The reason for those decisions is privacy: Many people don’t want an easily accessible trace of where they have been and who they have met, and for good reason. If you want a lot of people to use an app for contract tracing to quickly isolate people who could spread Covid-19, you need to credibly show there won’t be such profiles.

And for the same reason a general “who’s been near me” app would be ethically questionable, and, if you could make it, it’d be illegal in places with somewhat decent privacy laws.

On the other hand, if you have the consent of everyone involved (something like “share my location with these people”) you can simply use regular location services to see who’s near whom. That still creates a lot of highly sensitive data, though, so tread very carefully.

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