October 1, 2020 | technology | No Comments
Residents of New York and some surrounding states can now use their smartphones to track whether they have come close to someone with the coronavirus.
New York and New Jersey on Thursday released apps that use new technology from Apple and Google that detects nearby phones and can notify people if they spent time with someone who was later tested positive for the virus.
New York and New Jersey are the latest states to enable its residents to use the technology, joining at least 13 other states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming.
Residents of those states can turn on so-called exposure notifications in their phones’ settings. Depending on the phone, people might have to download an app run by their state.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Thursday that the technology would work with the apps of other states near New York, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. He said Connecticut would soon add the technology, too.
“So even if you’re traveling in the metropolitan area, it will tell you if you’ve been in contact with a person,” he said. The technology will “give people comfort.”
Apple, Google and the states have said that the technology does not collect people’s personal health details or track their locations. The technology uses Bluetooth signals to enable iPhones and Android devices to create an anonymous log of other nearby phones.
If someone using the technology tests positive for the virus, that person can enter the positive result into the system using a unique authentication code. An automatic notification would then go to other phones that had opted in and had been in close contact.