As the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, Google and Apple worked together on a new API for Android and iOS devices that would make contact tracing both easy and secure. Right now, though, the Android API for COVID-19 seems to be causing a “loading” notification error for some users.
Update: Google has fixed this issue, saying that the problem didn’t cause any loss of data and was caused by a problem with signature key configuration. Some apps will need input from the developer to get things fully patched up, a process Google will be assisting with. Google also warns that users should not reset their COVID Exposure Notification apps.
Late in the evening on January 12, an issue with the Exposure Notifications System on Android began causing delays in the checking of potential exposures for those with apps installed. We have issued a fix. It may take a few hours for devices to catch up, and in some cases we will work directly with developers to help with recovery. The issue did not cause the loss of any data or potential exposures.
Some Android users, especially those using the NHS COVID-19 app in the UK, have found a “loading” notification that appears constantly in the notification shade as seen below. This issue causes the app to take longer to conduct exposure checks, potentially missing out on logging nearby users of the same app who may end up with a positive result.
Obviously, the implications of this issue are not small, especially as this issue apparently affects not just the NHS app but all COVID-19 tracing apps on Android built on this API around the globe.
Speaking to The Verge, Google confirms that it is investigating the issue.
We are aware of an issue affecting Android apps developed using the Android Exposure Notifications System. Our engineers are investigating the issue.
More on COVID-19:
- Google working to support COVID-19 Exposure Notifications on wearables
- Google Search now shows COVID-19 requirements, service options for local businesses
- Google Search will surface news, up-to-date details about COVID-19 vaccines
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