Infinics - COVID-19 Tracker Auto Installed? Not Quite

"Did you know a COVID-19 Tracker has been installed on your phone without asking?!" Has been going around a lot lately, but that's not true.

 · 1 min read

The recent reports that a COVID-19 tracker has been automatically installed onto your iPhone or Android device have been filling the internet lately, and causing widespread panic.

I'd like to confirm that this is not true, and explain exactly what has happened.

  1. Apple and Google worked together to create what is called the Exposure Notification API. Think of this as a backbone to any good contact tracing app, and only that.
  2. This wasn't installed on your phone 'without [Apple/Google] telling you', in fact it's clearly explained in the release notes of iOS 13.5 and the same goes for Android.
  3. 'They can turn it on whenever they want and start tracking us' - Again, no. The API was developed to be anonymous, and works by exchanging random IDs with other devices using Bluetooth. These random IDs are stored in an exposure log for 14 days, and the exposure log can be presented to a contact tracing app to notify you if you have been exposed to COVID-19. Similarly, if you are exposed, you can choose to share your own device's random IDs with the app so it can notify others anonymously.

All in all, it's a brilliant API, it cannot track you, it was put there with your consent through either you accepting automatic updates, or manually updating to iOS 13.5/Android equivalent, and it's there to help you!

Please spread this information if you come across it, not the false claims that it's been put there maliciously!

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