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What is COVID-19 Exposure Notification System all about?

What are exposure notifications?

Exposure notifications are alerts that people can receive on their phones
letting them know if they’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for or is highly likely to have COVID-19.

They are meant to support and augment public health’s existing contact tracing efforts, not replace them.

They use random Bluetooth identifiers that indicate proximity and protect people’s privacy (no GPS or location data).

Public health authorities decide how the notifications will be triggered, what next steps to advise, and how to reach exposed individuals for further contact tracing and containment initiatives.


Why are Apple and Google getting involved?

Governments and public health authorities around the world are ramping up contact tracing efforts as they prepare to emerge from lockdown.

Traditional contact tracing techniques are hard to scale because they are:

• Resource-intensive – You need a lot of contact tracers to control a pandemic
• Slow – It takes time to get in touch with people and interview them
• Incomplete – People don’t have perfect memories and can’t identify strangers
• As a result, public health authorities are turning to mobile phone technology to
help automate the most difficult aspects of contact tracing.
• Many of them are building contact tracing apps and have asked for our help.


Privacy protections

Users must explicitly choose to turn on exposure notifications — and can turn it off at any time.

The system doesn’t collect or use device location, including for users who report

Users decide whether they want to report a positive diagnosis.

User identities are not known to other users, Google, or Apple.

Matching for exposure notifications is only done on device, under the user’s control.

The system is only used for exposure notifications by official public health authorities, and isn’t monetized.

Google and Apple will disable the exposure notifications system on a regional basis
when it is no longer needed.


This technology augments contact tracing efforts

Exposure notifications are not a substitute for traditional contact tracing, but rather aim to augment those efforts.

Can expand reach and rapidly notify unknown contacts.

Can augment the information available to contact tracers.

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