Google and Apple have released their COVID-19 contact-tracing API for their platforms, but that leaves hundreds of millions of users who do not use Google Play Services unable to take part in the scheme, including the second-largest smartphone OEM Huawei.

XDA-Dev reports that Huawei has decided not to leave their customers unprotected, and has released their own version of Google’s contact tracing API via an update to HMS Core, their version of Google Play Services.

Version 4.1.0.301 of HMS Core brings Huawei’s new Contact Shield API, which Huawei promises will offer the same level of privacy as Google’s version, with the privacy policy noting:

  • Users can determine whether to enable Contact Shield, whether to upload anonymous identifiers to the cloud, and whether to obtain diagnosis results by themselves.
  • Using anonymous identifiers will not record or store any personal information such as user locations. These identifiers will only be stored for 14 days.
  • After a user uninstalls your app, the user’s historical data stored on the device will be deleted. A user can also manually delete all historical data.
  • Only developers authorized by governments and strictly assessed by Huawei can use Contact Shield APIs to develop apps.
  • Huawei will sign an additional service agreement stating the user privacy protection requirements with eligible developers.

Huawei has not yet formally announced the new API, which uses Bluetooth LE, and most importantly whether it is interoperable with Apple and Google’s version.

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