Germany, France Changes Stance on Apple-Google Contact Tracing Project

April 28, 2020

On Friday, it was reported Germany and France were disagreeing with Apple and Google over security technicalities and the storage of data in the two tech giants’ cross-platform system-level framework for contact tracing. Two days later, it seems that officials from one of the two countries have changed their mind to instead support similar efforts. 

Germany was previously looking to create a centralized contact tracing system that relies on a central server, an approach that would allow health officials to be able to directly observe and potentially contact people suspected of carrying COVID-19. A central system approach is viewed as both a security and privacy risk by critics due to the handing over of potentially sensitive medical data to a single source, and paving the way to future state surveillance. 

Apple and Google’s system instead relies on a decentralized system, where contacts are stored only on user devices until they receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, with data only leaving the device upon that confirmation. The countries disagreed with the API’s workings, and instead leaned towards the creation of a centralized monitoring system. 

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