Published: 2020-06-20 17:23
Last Updated: 2021-04-18 08:57
New COVID-19 Application Programming Interface (API), mistaken for a COVID-19 tracking application, sets off a disturbance on social media protesting a privacy violation.
Rest assured, neither Apple nor Google have sneakily downloaded a tracking app onto users' smartphones without their permission.
Android and iOS released an API as part of the latest update, enabling exposure notifications to work if a COVID-19 tracking application is installed by the user. It is merely the framework that allows tracking applications to operate.
Apple and Google released an official joint statement in May saying, "What we’ve built is not an app - rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better."
Roya investigated and found the new API in the Health section within the privacy settings as "COVID-19 Exposure Logging". As for Android smartphones, the new addition comes up as "COVID-19 exposure notifications" in Google Settings.
Should users click on the newly-added COVID-19 related feature, it would take them to a screen suggesting the installation of an application to activate exposure notifications. Therefore, an additional application and a series of permissions are needed for any coronavirus tracking to happen.