Linux Foundation launches new initiative to fight COVID-19 with Apple-Google API

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The Linux Foundation on Monday announced a new initiative to leverage open source tech, including the Apple-Google Exposure Notification API, to combat coronavirus.

At first, the Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) project will focus on exposure notification apps that use the Apple-Google API. The framework launched in May 2020, but has yet to see widespread adoption globally.

Along with seven initial primary members, the LFPH initiative is also making its debut with two hosted exposure notification projects dubbed COVID Shield and COVID Green. Both are said to be launching in Canada, Ireland and several U.S. states.

Eventually, the LFPH project aims to support every step of the way for public health authorities in the battle against COVID-19. That includes supporting testing, tracing, and isolation activities, all with open source technology.

"To catalyze this open source development, Linux Foundation Public Health is building a global community of leading technology and consulting companies, public health authorities, epidemiologists, and other public health specialists, privacy and security experts, and individual developers," LFPH General Manager Dan Kohn said.

COVID Shield, developed by a team at Shopify, leverages the Apple-Google framework and is currently being deployed in Canada. COVID Green, on the other hand, was created by volunteers at NearForm and will roll out in Ireland.

The seven "premier members" of the LFPH include Cisco, doc.ai, geometer, IBM, NearForm, Tencent and VMWare.

Along with Canada and Ireland, other European countries have launched contact tracing apps based on the Apple and Google system. As of writing, they include Latvia, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.

Several U.S. states have signaled that they plan on developing Exposure Notification apps using the tech giants' platform, though no app has been released thus far.

On Friday, however, the Association of Public Health Laboratories announced that they were partnering with Apple, Google and Microsoft to build out a national server to securely store COVID-19 Exposure Notification data.

 

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