OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health announced Monday they have launched WA Notify, which is described as a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Washington residents who add WA Notify to their smart phones, they can be alerted if they spent time near another WA Notify user who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
WA Notify uses privacy-preserving technology that was developed jointly by Apple and Google. In a news release, the governor’s office stated it works without collecting or revealing any location or personal data.
“Secure, private, and anonymous exposure notification technology is an important tool for Washington,” Inslee wrote in the news release. “We’ve deployed WA Notify in 29 languages so as many Washington residents as possible can protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. I encourage everyone to start using WA Notify today so we can continue to work together to contain this virus.”
WA Notify is free and can be enabled in iPhone settings or downloaded as an app from the Google Play Store for Android phones. Users can opt out at any time. The tool is already being used in several states including Colorado, Virginia, and New York. Globally, countries using the technology include Ireland, Canada, and Germany.