Raytheon Technologies Joins Global Effort to Develop Contact-Tracing App for COVID-19 Patients

A business unit under Raytheon Technologies’ intelligence and space segment is working with Apple and Google as well as the academic and public sectors to deploy a COVID-19 contact-tracing app.

Raytheon's BBN Technologies business contributed its machine learning expertise for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led global initiative to develop the Private Automated Contact Tracing app, which uses Bluetooth encryption to ensure that data collated from COVID-19 patients remain anonymous, Raytheon said Monday.

PACT is also designed to help identify and isolate individuals that were exposed to the virus and could infect others despite not showing any symptoms, Raytheon noted.

As part of the effort, BBN contributed its knowledge on a cryptography concept called Succinct Non-interactive Arguments of Knowledge commonly used in encrypted emails to authenticate information.

Daniel Gregory, principal investigator for PACT at BBN, said the team is continuing experimentation activities and will run more tests to improve PACT’s performance and relay the results to Apple and Google.

Kim Gavin, intelligence programs director at BBN, noted that the PACT coalition has been funding internal research and development in an effort to improve contact-tracing amid the ongoing pandemic.

She added that she hopes BBN’s experience working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity can help drive the coalition’s efforts to mature PACT.

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