New Zealand may ditch Apple and Google contact tracing API for Tile like tracker instead

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While countries jump on the Apple and Google contact tracing API boat in hopes to better maintain the spread of COVID-19, New Zealand may opt for a more interesting approach.

Last week, New Zealand’s Minister of Finance Grant Robertson at a press conference confirmed the government was working on a credit card-sized, Tile like tracker to be used as a contact tracer. The project has dubbed the named CovidCard and will use Bluetooth to broadcast a signal with other cards in close proximity, creating a log for who you were in close contact with. The government is reportedly still keen on adopting an approach similar to the one taken by Singapore with an app but cites flaws in the rollout as a concern.

The idea is interesting but equally genius. Apple and Google continue to face privacy questions over how user data is protected when it is being transmitted across devices, with government agencies, and the companies’ server themselves. Several countries have put forward “concerning” statements, including the EU calling for Apple and Google to be more transparent.

New Zealand’s approach dismisses any such privacy concerns, being based off the phone. While exact details over CovidCard remain unknown, there is a concern off the bat. Unlike an app on your phone, people may choose to leave their card at home, defeating the purpose. From what we know, the battery on the card will last one year, and the cards would be destroyed after the pandemic is over.

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Sami started falling in love with Apple in 2010 with the iPhone 4S. As a registered developer, he deeply admires the world of Apple. Sami is an aspiring journalist, writer, and actor. He also has devoted his life to sharing his passion and knowledge with others around the world.