Google installed a Covid-19 tracker on my phone

   #1  

TractorGuy

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Ever looked at the Google settings in your phone? Google installed a Covid-19 tracker on my Android phone. It is turned off but there was no notice it was installed. While I was in there I found the setting to turn off personalized ads.

In my Android phone it was under settings/google.

covid-tracker.jpg
 
   #2  

kf4uda

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It's not just Google. They put it in Iphones as well.

IMG_9239.PNG
 
   #3  

ovrszd

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Yep, my android has it too. It's turned "off".
 
   #4  

Roadworthy

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I have no such app on my phone (yet). I have also turned off location and I do not use data. I do have an Android phone but I use it as a phone, sometimes sending text messages but I'm pretty primitive.
 
   #5  

Stan B

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Ever looked at the Google settings in your phone? Google installed a Covid-19 tracker on my Android phone.

It was part of an update to "Google Play Services", which are a set of API's that applications installed on your device use. As I understand it, this "Exposure Notifications" feature requires an additional app installed that would communicate with the service. Not saying it's not totally intrusive and a privacy violation; just adding some technical details.

I have also turned off location

Interestingly enough, the "feature" TractorGuy is talking about will work even with location services turned off. Google still listens for device beacons (e.g., someone else's phone's bluetooth) and uses them as part of the tracking dataset. Little bit creepy.
 
   #6  

mrmikey

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I just checked, it's on mine too. I hate crap that's installed without my knowing, if I had wanted it, I would have asked to have it installed.............Mike
 
   #7  

ericm979

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It works by adding encrypted randomly-generated beacons to the bluetooth broadcast. Phones will record the beacons they see. If someone tests positive their random beacons will be decrypted and sent to a server. Phones will regularly download beacon decryption keys for devices belonging to people who have tested positive. If your phone's seen one of those beacons, you were possibly within bluetooth range of that person and thus possibly picked up some Covid germs. Then you can go get tested. It's designed to preserve people's privacy as much as possible. Obviously there's the possibility of guessing who has Covid if you get notified and were only around a few people in the last N days.

here's documentation. The FAQ is the most understandable. Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing - Apple and Google

My work is in cryptography and security. I've a healthy distrust of big tech cos. However in this case I think they're doing something good.

(my description above is greatly simplified. If you want the gory details, the documents on that page provide them.)
 
   #8  

grsthegreat

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nope..dont agree. its another total invasion of privacy. mine is location disabled also. im really not worried about any virus that the human body can catch and show no symptoms of in 98% of the cases. i feel sorry for those that get symptoms or worse, but i truly believe that they have destroyed this economy for political reasons.
 
   #9  

newbury

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Coincidentally I just went to check my phone and it wanted to update. I normally have location and bluetooth turned off. I'm thinking now I'll just leave the phone turned off (like oosick does) unless I want to make a call or take a picture etc.
That should increase battery life.
 
   #10  

ovrszd

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This will sound totally "Twilight Zone". I don't think turning yiur phone off will help.
 
 
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