COVID-19 contact tracing apps raise privacy concerns

Contract tracing apps aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 has proven effective already in South Korea, and France and Germany are already getting ready to roll out the technology

But the technology has come under scrutiny in the United States, with some raising questions over the technology being an invasion of privacy. 

The apps, if turned on, allows your phone to exchange random IDs with other devices using Bluetooth. 

“Your phone indicates, based on the contact tracing, that you were near these 16 people based on their phones, so then they would get an alert on their phone saying ‘You were near someone who is infected,’” said Lance Ulanoff, Editor-in-Chief of

Ulanoff says that although Google and Apple did announce this mobile tool for digital contact tracing a few weeks ago, it does not mean you’re automatically being tracked. 

Some phones already show an option to enable contact tracing under their settings, but as a related app is still under development, the technology cannot yet be turned on.

“The thing that most people were concerned about when they first heard about contact tracing apps is privacy,” Ulanoff said. “What they didn’t want was private companies to be building this and to potentially be using that information for other purposes.”

While the app is still in development, both Google and Apple have issued joint statements admitting new exposure notifications, but promising you’re only tracked if you give consent.


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