A lot has been going on the past several months during the Covid-19 pandemic, so if you haven’t noticed yet, cell phones now have a setting for a Covid-19 exposure notification. For over a century, scientists have been tracking the spread of diseases to help stop the spread of the current and future diseases. Unfortunately, Covid-19 creates a problem with the traditional methods of disease/virus tracking. Since Covid-19 is spread so easily it’s hard for the infected person to backtrack correctly and remember where they could have contracted the virus. This is why the Covid-19 exposure notification was created. Even so, nobody likes to have unwanted software installed on their phones. That being said, there are some confusions about what the Covid-19 exposure notification is and whether or not you are being tracked.
There have been some reports on social media sites that Google and Apple have uploaded tracking apps on every phone without the user’s permission. This isn’t true. Instead, Google and Apple have paired up with public health departments to create a system called “contact tracing” publicly called “exposure notification” to sound less threatening. The idea behind this system is to use Bluetooth to keep track of all phones you come into contact with. If somebody tells the system that they have contracted Covid-19 and you have been in contact with their phone then you will receive a notice telling you that you have been in contact with somebody who has been infected with Covid-19.
This system is designed to keep identities and locations anonymous and will not be activated unless you download the public health department’s official Covid-19 tracking app. The technology that was built by Apple and Google is not in an application but is a setting that helps the development of the Covid-19 tracking app. The good news about this setting is that it’s disabled by default. The bad news about this setting is that you cannot uninstall it. Each Android or Apple user gets to decide whether or not they want to use the exposure notifications. If you choose not to, then nothing will happen with your phone. You will not receive any notifications and your data will not be collected. If you would like to use this notification then you need to download your states public health department’s official Covid-19 tracking app and enable the exposure notification setting.
Micheal Banks – Technology Consultant