Utah Says No to Apple/Google COVID-19 Tracing; Debuts Startup App
A new startup company called Twenty Holding has developed an app called “Healthy Together” that will aid in contact tracing for the Coronavirus in Utah. Healthy Together uses location data that includes GPS, cell tower triangulation, and bluetooth to distinguish users and Coronavirus transmission zones. Contact tracers can use the data to alert infected and exposed contacts based on the app user’s contact list. Together, the contact tracer and app user can work to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Conversely, Apple and Google have released an API that allows public health officials to create apps that have no centralized data collection on citizens. However, its creation has sparked uproar in the state of Utah.
Utah residents resisted opting into the use of the Apple/Google API that could help stop the spread of Coronavirus because it uses an anonymous identifier beacon through bluetooth. Two people who have opted into contact tracing will receive each other’s anonymous identifier beacon when in close proximity. Then if either user were to become affected they could choose to upload the last 14 days worth of locations to the cloud. Anyone who has been in contact, that has also opted into tracing, will receive a notification about their potential contact with a new case. Utah residents are not sold on Apple and Google’s choice to solely rely on bluetooth as they believe it creates a less accurate picture of disease hotspots.