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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Contact Tracing on Your Smartphone & Tablets

Technology has been used in a variety of ways to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Google and Apple joined forces to implement a new feature in your smartphones and tablets that will allow your devices to keep track of who has been infected and following up with people who have come in contact with those who have the virus. On paper, this sounds great but I'm sure the biggest questions you're asking are 'Is this feature safe to use on my smart devices' and 'How it will affect my privacy'. With all of the data breaches that have occurred in recent years, these are legitimate questions. Let me put your mind at ease by explaining more about this technology.

What is Exposure Tracking? Exposure tracing (or contract tracing) has been around for a while and it is the process of trying to keep track of people who have a transmittable disease and attempting to follow up with the people they came in contact with. By staying in contact with people, health professionals hope they can prevent further spread of the diseases. If you were to do this process manually, it would take a lot of time to reach out to people, plus you would have to hope that people would remember all of the places they've been and people they had contact with.

How Does Mobile Exposure Tracking Work? Exposure tracking on Apple and Andoird devices works the same way as the manual process except for your smartphone or tablet is doing the reporting. It uses a technology called Bluetooth LE (Low Energy). This uses less of your battery's power and has a shorter range of about 30 feet. Once this technology is implemented on your device, it will send out a signal to other phones while keeping your information secure. This allows you to anonymously self-report if you test posi