The novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, has wreaked havoc across the world. Many countries shut down large parts of the economy in order to contain the spread of the virus. As countries reopen their economies, many health experts fear a “second wave”, ie. resurgence, of COVID-19. To prevent a second wave, public health experts are advocating that nations adopt contact tracing, ie. tracing all the people who have recently come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and then undertaking steps to isolate those individuals. Contact tracing is difficult to implement correctly without violating an individual’s privacy. The threat to personal privacy was severe enough for Google and Apple to collaborate on an API that developers of public health agencies can use to implement app-based contact tracing solutions. This contact tracing API, which Google and Apple call the Exposure Notification API, is designed to respect user privacy and security.
Once a user downloads an app that uses the Exposure Notification API and opts in to contact tracing, their device starts generating “proximity identifiers” that are changed every 15 minutes (on average). Via Bluetooth Low Energy, these “proximity identifiers” are periodically shared with nearby devices whose users have also opted into contact tracing. The proximity identifier is then processed on-device and does not reveal information about a user’s location or other personally identifiable information. Once a user confirms a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, they can share their diagnosis with the app they installed, which will then inform other users who have come into close contact with them in the last 14 days. For more information on how the Exposure Notification API works, we recommend reading our initial coverage.
Google first rolled out the Exposure Notification API for Android devices on May 20, 2020, as part of an update to Google Play Services, but its use is restricted to apps that have been developed by official public health agencies (for obvious reasons). However, neither Google nor Apple has made details public about the list of apps that have been whitelisted for using this API, so unless you’re constantly keeping up with the news, it’s hard to know which countries have adopted the API. We’ve previously covered some of the countries that have adopted the Exposure Notification API when we talked about the various open-source contact tracing projects that are out there. In this article, we have compiled a list of official contact tracing apps from designated health agencies from various countries that are using Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification API. Our list contains COVID-19 contact tracing apps that have been released or are currently in development.
XDA’s Mishaal Rahman discovered Google’s hidden whitelist of application package names for the API. Subsequently, these package names were traced back to apps, their listing, and the countries they belong to. The information is compiled below in a table for easy reference. We have also added Google Play Store and Apple App Store links, if the app has been publicly released, as well as the source code and the official website link, wherever available. We will update this list as more countries/regions adopt the API.
Note: A ? next to the region means we are unsure which region this app is being developed for.
*Australia’s existing app uses the BlueTrace protocol but the government is testing an implementation using Apple and Google’s API.
**On June 18, 2020, Canada announced its app will use technology from Apple and Google.
***According to a report from the House of Representatives of the Netherlands, an open-source app using Exposure Notification API is planned.
****The government of Spain announced on June 23, 2020, that they will be piloting an app based on Google and Apple’s API.
*****On June 18, 2020, the UK announced they are switching their app to use Apple and Google’s API.
******On May 20, 2020, the U.S. states of Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina announced their intentions to develop apps using Apple and Google’s API. Care19, the existing contact tracing app for North and South Dakota, will be rebranded as Care19 Diary while a new app called Care19 Exposure will be released. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum confirmed his state will use this new app while South Dakota has not committed. Meanwhile, Virginia has not yet confirmed which API they will use for their contact tracing app.
- June 26, 2020
- Added: Brazil, Ghana, Ecuador, Spain, Estonia, Egypt, Portugal, Croatia, MIT’s PathCheck SafePlaces
- Package names updated: Canada, Alabama
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.