You may have recently noticed that your cell phone now has a setting for COVID-19 exposure notifications.
The sight of these settings on iPhones and Android devices has led some people on social media to claim that Apple and Google have uploaded tracking apps to individual phones without permission. That is not true.
Instead, the two companies are partnering to create technology that allows applications created by public health agencies to work more precisely on Android phones and iPhones, according to a press release from the two companies.
Apple and Google announced last month that they are partnering to assist public health officials with a process called contact tracing. Public health agencies use contact tracing to track who has been potentially exposed to a disease, such as COVID-19, as part of their efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
According to the press release, the technology they created is not an application, but something that public health agencies can use to create their own application that people can install on their phones.
According to the press release, each user of an Android phone or iPhone decides whether or not to use exposure notifications.
“(T) he system does not collect or use the location of the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them to report on the public health application or not,” the companies said in the statement.