Snippet: Utah Rejects Apple-Google Contract Tracing ☍

Shared on May 13, 2020

Kif Leswing for CNBC (via MacRumors):

More than 45,000 people have signed up for Utah’s contact tracing app, Healthy Together, since it was released in late April, the app’s developers told CNBC. That represents about 2% of the state’s population, but could still be helpful to the state’s health department as they attempt to track and notify people who might have been exposed. […]

Utah’s governor’s office spent $2.75 million for the app and other improvements, and will pay $300,000 per month in maintenance fees, according to public records cited by Utahpolicy.com, a website focusing on local politics. […]

Utah’s approach draws a contrast with the decentralized, anonymous systems backed by Apple and Google and several countries in Europe. Those systems cannot provide information to public health departments. Instead, they send alerts directly between phones to tell people if they might have been exposed, and relies on users to contact health departments if they’ve tested positive.

The Apple-Google system makes the most sense on paper just because it can collect some data, won’t feel too creepy, and will be widespread. They’ve practically handed the resources to various officials on a silver platter with the Exposure Notification API, and with the OS updates, should cover a lot of devices out in the wild automatically. Instead, Utah is spending money on a system that they hope people will download, opt-in, and keep running in hopes of getting more data.

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