As we spoke in the last blog there is much that we still do not know about the COVID-19 App.
What happens if you are infected?
- The system is supposed to upload your last fourteen days of anonymous “Keys” (locations) to a server. If you test positive for COVID-19, then it will automatically start downloading the key list of the other people’s phones and if they match your history then it automatically get an exposure notification.
- Somehow the app will need to ensure the validity of the people infected. Otherwise, a troll could cause Chaos by claiming to have COVID-19. Not sure how they will be able to do that but COVID-19 tests are currently administered by professionals and logged with health authorities. Perhaps Apple and Google will need to be able to join forces with health authorities to validate positive tests. But would something like this be HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant. They would also need to team up with the HIPAA compliance officer to ensure that the app is HIPAA compliant and put safety measures in place.
Sharing your keys is supposed to be voluntary. It cannot be a blanket consent when you install the app to actually approve an upload. However, the exact process is another thing we will need to wait to find out.
What happens if you are exposed?
- If your phone matches the infected “Keys” (location) within the last 14 days, then you will be notified by an alert that reads something like this, “You have recently been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.”
- It will offer a link with further information. What will this information include we are unsure of but it is dependent on the health authority that is offering the app. Unfortunately at this time we don”t know what information will be given, although at the least it should provide information to explain signs and symptoms, instructions on what to do if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms and instructions on how to self quarantine guidelines for COVID-19.
We are still waiting for further working details of the app but none of this will replace traditional contact tracing interviews. If we use this app in the correct way it could add an additional protection and platform-level system that is easy to use and doesn’t overly compromise privacy.