A day after the French government announced it would not launch the Apple / Google Corona Virus API for contact tracking, although it was ‘innovative and efficient,’ the same minister made a misleading statement claiming Apple refused to join France to help his StopCovid app.
French officials want Apple to change the settings so their app can access Bluetooth in the background so it’s always on. So far, Apple has refused.
“Apple could have helped us make the application on the iPhone even better. They didn’t want that, ”French digital technology minister Cedric O told BFM Business TV.
‘I regret this because we are at a time when everyone is mobilized to fight the epidemic and the fact that a large company that is doing economically well is not helping a government in this crisis’ […]
O, the French minister, said he could not explain the reasons for Apple’s decision to use Bluetooth.
The statement is misleading in two ways. First, Apple doesn’t refuse to allow apps to access Bluetooth tracking in the background: it has provided an API to do just that.
Secondly, it is not true that the French government cannot explain Apple’s position. The country is well aware that Apple wants to protect the privacy of iPhone users by encouraging governments to use the API eight data protection measures. The French app lacks at least two of these protections: Bluetooth codes are sent to a government database instead of being stored on the phone, and there is no guarantee that the system will be deactivated after the crisis ends.
Evidence from the European Commission suggests that most EU countries will adopt the Apple / Google API, as the main champion of a potential competing standard said that the API would accelerate progress. Germany originally intended to go its own way like France, but later decided to introduce the API. So far, the UK is the only other Western European country that has decided against using the Apple / Google API.
Britain is currently testing its own app on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. The UK government also pledges not to collect location data and says that this functionality could be added later. The Apple / Google API does not allow access to location data.