France has urged Apple to ease its Bluetooth restrictions, which the country says is hindering the development of StopCovid — a government contact-tracing app — Bloomberg reports. The country’s Digital Minister, Cedric O told Bloomberg that France is “asking Apple to lift the technical hurdle to allow us to develop a sovereign European health solution that will be tied our health system”; however, there has been no progress in those discussions. France is among the most badly hit nations by the coronavirus, with over 157,000 confirmed cases according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University. On iOS, apps that transfer data over Bluetooth are prevented from running constantly in the background. This requirement restricts the effectiveness of contact tracing apps since they need to exchange packets of data over Bluetooth and run constantly in the background while doing so. Apple's current Bluetooth policy restricts that, which is why France is asking the company to dilute it, according to Bloomberg. France is aiming to launch its contact tracing app by May 11, per Bloomberg, and it will be showcased in the country’s Parliament on April 28. The app has been developed by the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (Inria), a government research institute. France has also developed a protocol for its contact-tracing app, called ROBERT (robust and privacy-preserving proximity tracing protocol). The protocol — documents for which were published on GitHub — says that "although it might seem attractive in term of privacy to adopt a fully decentralized solution, such approaches face important challenges…
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