Contact tracing apps: Huawei launches its own Contact Shield API

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After Apple and Google, it is Huawei's turn to propose its own HMS Contact Shield API for contact tracing applications to track the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. This API will be compatible with Google/Apple's solutions, but we still don't know what will happen with StopCovid, which is not available on the AppGallery.

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In a press release to developers on Tuesday, June 9, Huawei announced the launch of its Bluetooth contact tracing API under the name Contact Shield. The company has been deprived of Google Mobile Services (GMS) since May 2019, so Huawei has not been able to benefit from Google and Apple's common API to facilitate the development of contact tracing applications.

The French StopCovid application is still not available on the AppGallery, excluding all the manufacturer's most recent models such as the Huawei P40, P40 Pro, and P40 Lite. To address this, Huawei has launched its own HMS Core Contact Shield solution that uses Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to detect nearby devices, exchange anonymized data, and record users' contacts with someone who has contracted the Covid-19.

Huawei Contact Shield would be compatible with the Google/Apple API

"Huawei Contact Shield is compatible with industry-recognized protocols to make contact tracing more accurate," Huawei explains in its release. These are the decentralized protocols of the Google/Apple API or the DP3T used in Germany. Huawei devices with HMS Core SDK version 4.1 and later will be compatible to receive the Contact Shield API.

What does Huawei do to protect your data via its contact tracing API?

The API is obviously reserved for developers from states or recognized public health organizations. In addition to facilitating the interaction of Google's private Huawei smartphones with Android and iPhone smartphones for contact tracing, Huawei Contact Shield is also a data-friendly solution.

Thus, users will be able to choose to enable or disable Contact Shield, to allow or disallow the sharing of anonymized contact data via the cloud and to receive or not receive notifications in case of contact with an infected person.

The API will use anonymous identifiers that will not record or store any personal location data. These identifiers will only be kept locally for 14 days. If you uninstall your contact tracing application, your history and data will be deleted and you will also be able to do this manually.

Huawei will subject eligible developers to additional user privacy agreements.

The question then arises as to which applications this API will actually be applicable to and especially whether these applications, such as StopCovid, will actually be available on the AppGallery. We will follow this issue closely and will keep you informed of developments.

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  • Joemoney Jun 11, 2020 Link to comment

    Can we stop calling it contact tracing and call it what is actually is. It's called being spyed on due to a massive lie about a virus or as I like to call it big brother spying.
    So please:
    Contact tracing = big brother spying

  • storm Jun 9, 2020 Link to comment

    Go read the Forbes article '"Huawei is 'Happy with Crappy'". It's time to bail on all things Huawei.