CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina System has announced that it is helping promote the statewide rollout of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) contact tracing application, built on Apple and Google technology. Faculty, staff, and students at UNC System constituent institutions will be actively encouraged to download and activate the SlowCOVIDNC app.
SlowCOVIDNC was designed with user privacy and safety first in mind. The app never collects or processes any location or personally identifiable information. In addition, it allows users to opt-out at multiple checkpoints. Individuals who test positive will not be identified.
SlowCOVIDNC anonymously notifies users who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus. To participate, users do not need to do anything more than download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and turn on notifications.
Once users have opted in to the notification system, the app randomly generates digital tokens, which change every 15-20 minutes. SlowCOVIDNC works in the background to exchange these privacy-preserving, randomly generated tokens using Bluetooth technology. The app catalogs each of these connections, scanning for tokens associated with positive COVID-19 cases. When a match is identified, users receive a private notification with further instructions on how to keep safe and halt the spread. The app uses minimal battery power and does not need to remain open for this process to work.
Because evidence suggests that COVID-19 spreads even before infected individuals show symptoms, health officials agree that contact tracing efforts need to be fast and efficient. This digital app will help increase speed and scale, expanding the reach and effectiveness of the state’s contact tracing efforts.