Google Veterans Unveil Nonprofit CVKey Project in Effort to Assist Communities in Reopening Responsibly

Published on May 22, 2020

Born from Brian McClendon, the cofounder of Google’s Keyhole, is the registered nonprofit CVKey Project. The project, which launched earlier today, essentially assesses the symptoms of an individual and allows venues to determine based off of the results whether or not to admit them. 

How does the app work?

The CVKey app invites individuals to take an assessment. This assessment asks people about any symptoms they may have been experiencing along with a few other related questions. The results from this self-assessment then generate a QR code which notifies the individual of their ability to enter a venue–this is also based on the specific venues policies. 

McClendon and the CVKey Project team aim to launch an array of apps that will work towards simplifying the transition to normalcy–or at least, life as we knew it. Apple and Google recently paired up to develop an exposure notification API for the app. The app is also meant to be a reliable source of information regarding certain venues, their guidelines and how they’re going about preventing the spread of COVID-19

Isn’t this a violation of privacy?

While you volunteer your health information when using this app, you are never required to enter your location–most of the process, McClendon assures, can be completed without an internet connection.

The CVKey Project ensures that the data retrieved from the QR code remains on your device only. The health data you input via the app will not be stored in the cloud. While you generate your QR code at a certain location, the location does not have access to your health information. The code applies the relevancy of your most recently reported symptoms to the specific location and determines whether or not you’re abiding by the location’s policies. It provides a simple “go” or “no-go” response. 

As reported by Axios, McClendon stated:

“We don’t want to sacrifice our civil liberties or compromise privacy in the rush to reopen.”

What about those who are asymptomatic? 

While we don’t know too much about the novel coronavirus, we do know that many who’ve contracted COVID-19 have shown little to no symptoms. So how exactly will this app be able to properly evaluate the status of those who may have COVID-19 but aren’t symptomatic? Won’t it simply deem them low-risk and safe to enter venues and walk amongst crowds?

McClendon says that CVKey will continue to revise and adjust as we learn more about the virus; assuring that he’ll be adding more features and covering more ground once we know exactly what we’re dealing with here.

You can learn more about the CVKey Project here.

Kristen Sallaberry is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in New York, she covers the realm of consumer tech and how these ever-progressing gadgets affect our lives. A creative writer and music-head, she also writes for online music publication, Sound of Boston, where she reviews and premieres new music, and co-writes a hip-hop focused column.

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