Apr 21, 2020

Coronavirus: Apple and France in stand-off over contact-tracing app

France is pressing Apple to let its forthcoming coronavirus contract-tracing app work in the background on iPhones without building in the privacy measures the US company wants. Although the French government has promised adoption of the app will be voluntary and involve anonymised data, the document reveals there would be ways to "Re-identify users or to infer their contact graphs" if desired. The problem for Inria - and other countries developing their own contact-tracing apps - is Apple currently will not allow Bluetooth-based track-and-tracing to be carried out in the background. Users have still complained of being unable to make calls or use other apps at the same time and having accidentally bumped the app into the background when their handset was in their pocket. NHSX - which is testing an app of its own for the UK - faces a similar quandary and remains in discussions with Apple and Google about the matter.

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