Covid: A covid-19 case tracking app is being automatically installed on the Android phones of Massachusetts residents, as reported by The Verge on Monday (21). Many users took advantage of the Google Play Store comments section to complain about unauthorized installation.
Launched last Tuesday (15), the MassNotify app was developed in partnership with Google and Apple to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Based on the devices’ Bluetooth, it notifies about the proximity to the phone of someone who has been infected and reported the diagnosis to the service.
However, the automatic installation of the tool did not please smartphone owners. “Although I believe in the intent with which this app was made, installing it without any notifications is extremely alarming,” wrote one of the users in the store.
“Normal apps can’t just install themselves. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but that doesn’t count as voluntary,” complained another user, referring to registering to use the service, which isn’t mandatory. About 500,000 residents voluntarily joined the platform in the app’s first days of operation.
Installed but not activated
Asked about installing MassNotify without user consent, Google confirmed the automatic availability of the app, launched in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. But, according to the search giant, the tool only works if activated by the owner of the cell phone.
“Covid-19 exposure notifications are only enabled if a user has proactively enabled them. Users decide whether to enable this functionality and share information through the system to help alert others to a possible exposure,” he explained. the Mountain View Company.
Anyone who wants to use the system must enable it in the device settings, within the “Google” menu, activating the option “Covid-19 exposure notifications”.