California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday, Dec. 7, Google and Apple will release a COVID-19 tracking application that will be available on Thursday, Dec. 10. The application – “California Notify” – will use bluetooth and will require users to opt-in.

“CA has partnered with @Google and @Apple to launch a #COVID19 exposure notification app, CA Notify. Starting Thursday, you can opt in to get push notifications on your phone if you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is 100% private & secure,” Newsom wrote in a Tweet Monday.

During his Monday morning press conference, Newsom added that the “California Notify” is a 100 percent secure, and private application.

On Monday, California was pushed back into regional lockdown, shuttering indoor and outdoor dining, as well as personal care services.

“There’s been a lot of discussion around apps, there’s been a lot of discussions about how technology can advance our efforts to notify individuals, mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and address this pandemic head on,” Newsom said. “Two of California’s best known headquartered technology, Google and Apple have joined together in an effort to provide for exposure notification – not contact tracing, but exposure notification.”

Newsom continued to emphasize that this new technology required users to opt-in to the California Notify app, which uses bluetooth to track proximity between users.

It also allows users who test positive to use the California Notify app to anonymously send a code to users that may have potentially become exposed to the virus.

“This is not contract tracing, this is notification technology – you can choose to participate in leveraging this technology, to allow people that you’ve been in contact with, or have been in contact with you to be notified of potential exposure, related to the transmission to this disease,” Newsom explained.

The technology behind California Notify uses bluetooth to send “anonymous keys.”

“If you’re chatting, you’re very close, you’re not socially/physically distancing, you’re chatting for a number of minutes – your cellphones, because you have you opted-in to this technology, are automatically, because of bluetooth, exchanging anonymous keys.”

Once opted-in, users can give consent to notify other California Notify users that they may have been exposed to the virus within the last 14 days.

Users can opt-in via the California Notify website. Android users can download the application via the Google Play Store. iPhone users only need to toggle on exposure notifications within iPhone settings.

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