Lawmakers in Virginia are touting the rollout of a coronavirus tracing app they believe will help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam encouraged state residents on Wednesday to download the app COVIDWISE, a joint project from Apple and Google that uses Bluetooth technology to collect location data anonymously that can be later used to alert others of a potential outbreak. The Democrat said Virginians should not worry that they are being tracked without their consent.
“This is a way we can all work together to contain this virus,” Northam said. “No one is tracking you. None of your personal information is saved.”
When users download the app, Bluetooth data is used to track the movement of participating users, and the interface allows people infected by the coronavirus to alert anyone else they may have come into contact with easily and anonymously according to the data recorded by the app.
“We’re using every possible approach to fight this virus and keep Virginians healthy,” Northam wrote in a statement provided to the Associated Press. “The COVIDWISE app is completely anonymous, protects personal privacy, and gives you an additional tool to protect yourself and your community.”
The website to Virginia’s public health system includes a description of the app, which states it collects data from users who are within six feet of each other for at least 15 minutes.
“Your device will share anonymous tokens via Bluetooth with other COVIDWISE users,” a message prompt reads on the app. “If another user you’ve been nearby tests positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period, your app will notify you.”