A lot of people are complaining on social media platforms, that Google and Apple have suddenly uploaded a coronavirus tracking application to their smartphones without their permission. Here, we will discuss what has actually happened.
You may be receiving a lot of messages on your Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter apps from individuals warning you that Google and Apple have suddenly installed a Covid-19 tracking app to their devices, and you should also check your smartphone.
This apparently looks like these two tech giants are violating your right to privacy, however, it is not true, as the two biggest companies have not uploaded any coronavirus tracking app to your smartphone without your permission. There are no stealthy or automatic tracking applications installed on your device.
However, Google has added a new option at the top of the Google Settings for Android mobiles. For instance, the option states, coronavirus exposure notifications. You can locate the new option in the ‘Services’ section of settings. It does not indicate that a COVID-19 tracking app has been installed on your smartphone.
Indeed, if a user taps on this entry, they would be taken to a new screen that tells the user to install or finish setting up a specific application to activate the ‘exposure notifications’ on their smartphone. The new screen will also provide information related to a particular COVID-19 tracking app. The tracking app will share the date, duration, as well as the signal strength related to exposure.
If a person has COVID-19, they can also choose to share their smartphone’s random IDs with the tracking application so that it can notify other people anonymously. You might be thinking about what has actually been installed on your smartphone. The only thing that happened in the latest iOS or Android update is that the API (application programming interface) that will enable exposure notifications to function has been included. The new update is not an application, the new API is the framework within the OS (operating system) that will enable such tracking application to operate once this app becomes available, and if a user decides to install the app on their smartphone.
Google and Apple released a joint statement related to this back on May 20 of this year. The companies stated that they have not created an application. The companies have built an API and the public health agencies will incorporate the API (application programming interface) into their applications that users install on their smartphones.
Apple and Google said that they have designed their technology to make these applications perform better. To sum up, nobody is able to install a coronavirus tracking application on your smartphone without your permission. Nobody will upload any COVID-19 tracking app to your smartphone without your permission. However, if you decide to install a COVID-19 tracking app, you will need to agree to various permission the app needs to operate efficiently