With states opening back up people are trying to juggle getting back out and staying safe. Some try and do their part by wearing masks, especially in stores around workers and other patrons, while others are simply electing to stay at home until a vaccine or treatment is made available. Either way, we are living in a world where COVID 19 is our reality.
Google and Apple have both decided to enter this fight by partnering to create software to basically track the virus and try and eliminate the spread. So how it works, as explained by 9 to 5 Google, is that once you download an app it will ask you if you tested positive for COVID 19. If you say yes it will be “anonymously” entered into a database that is shared with government officials and will alert a nearby device that someone nearby has tested positive for the virus. But it will not say who or where the person is located. Now though this may seem like a good idea I can think of a number of ways where this can go wrong.
First, a person gets an alert of possible exposure. But they do not know from where. So this can cause unnecessary panic. Another issue is if you have a troll (or trolls) looking to induce unnecessary fear. All they would have to do is say yes and just drive all over town and put themselves in locations that will set off a bunch of phones. An example of this would be grocery stores and shopping centers. Lastly, well people still do not trust companies like Google or the government. They say it is private but data is being taken from a device and sent to a server people must trust is properly encrypted. And with breaches being something we are seeing what feels like regularly, I can understand a person not wanting to trust Google, Apple, or the government with that information. Which can lead you with people who claim to have the virus running around looking to scare people while those actually sick being silent and actually going around infecting people.
Though this article is me being very skeptical, I will say I get what these tech companies are attempting to do. At least part of me gets that they are trying to do what they can to help with fighting the spread of the virus. A virus that has claimed (potentially) over 90,000 lives in the US alone. Though some question if the number is that high, there is no question that lives were lost due to COVID 19. And Google and Apple are seeing this as them doing their part.
And that leaves me to my title. Do you trust your smartphone to maintain your privacy, while helping to prevent the spread of COVID 19?