European nations including Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands are considering or have opted for technology developed by Apple and Google for smartphone contact-tracing applications to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The Apple/Google system is designed for phones running Bluetooth, which emit a unique, frequently changing identification number and record the ID numbers of any phone in proximity for more than a few minutes.
In this decentralized model, an infected person's phone uploads data on all of the ID numbers it has broadcast over a set time period to a temporary server; other phones then check the server to see if any of the IDs are among those they recorded, and alert the user if a match is detected.
From The Wall Street Journal
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