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EU official says Apple, Google COVID-19 tracing software to be ready by 28 April

A first version of the software under development by Apple and Google for Covid-19 tracing apps should be available for developers by 28 April, according to Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market. He gave the news to French paper Les Echos after speaking with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Breton also spoke with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in the past week on the apps.

On Twitter, Breton said he had a “good exchange” with the Apple CEO. The EU commissioner outlined how any contact tracing apps need to comply with EU regulations, notably ensuring they are anonymised, voluntary, transparent, temporary, secure and interoperable across operating systems and borders.

He told French paper Les Echos that he did not raise with Cook France’s call for Apple to disable some of its Bluetooth security protocols in iOS, so tracing apps can function permanently and not just when the app is open. According to Breton, it is up to the individual EU member states to handle the technical details of the app, while he stressed to Apple that the company must do the maximum to develop adapted technical solutions so the national apps can function.

France is developing a tracing app called StopCovid which it aims to have ready by 11 May when it starts relaxing confinement measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Like other countries developing such apps, there are concerns about the security and privacy of the systems. A debate and vote is planned for 28-29 April in the French parliament on the app, while the data protection regulator Cnil and National Digital Council are expected to provide opinions by the end of this week.


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