World Split Between Two Types of App

Over recent weeks, a split has emerged between two different types of Coronavirus contact-tracing – the so-called centralised and decentralised versions.

Both types use Bluetooth signals to log when smartphone owners are close to each other – so if someone develops Covid-19 symptoms, an alert can be sent to other users they may have infected. Under the centralised model, the anonymised data gathered is uploaded to a remote server where matches are made with other contacts, should a person start to develop Covid-19 symptoms. This is the method the UK is pursuing.

By contrast, the decentralised model gives users more control over their information by keeping it on the phone. It is there that matches are made with people who may have contracted the virus. This is the model promoted by Google, Apple and an international consortium.

Both sides have their fans.

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