Last week, the natives of Massachusetts found the official COVID-19 tracing app from their state government being installed in their Android phones, by Google, without their consent.
This surprising act by Google has frustrated the people of Massachusetts, who went onto accuse Google of its technological dominance on its own platform.
Google Automatically Installs Apps in Android Phones
In order to track and safeguard the health of their citizens, several national and state governments across the world have come up with respective tracing apps recently.
These apps, authorized by regulators, will use your device’s inbuilt features like Bluetooth, location, notifications, etc to track and let you know of any recent contact with COVID-19 victims.
While this idea was fairly useful, it would be successful only if the entire population agrees to follow it. Thus, everyone who’s having a handset should have the concerned app installed and let them being tracked.
And this raises privacy concerns since many don’t trust their governments, who promise only to track their movements for legit purposes. And doing anything against of their will surely trigger an unpleasant response from them – like in the case of Google recently.
Last week, thousands, if not millions of Massachusetts citizens found their state government’s COVID-19 tracing service – Exposure Notifications Settings Feature MA app installed in their devices without any consent.
And many believed this happened only with the help of Google, which is having a deeper grip on almost every Android handset out there. This unwanted action from Google triggered unpleasant responses from the users, who started complaining about it on the app’s Playstore page.
Hundreds of citizens rated the app 1 star and wrote critical reviews on Google’s dominance. While people continue to accuse this act, Google has given the following statement to Android Police on asking about the issue;
We have been working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to allow users to activate the Exposure Notifications System directly from their Android phone settings. This functionality is built into the device settings and is automatically distributed by the Google Play Store, so users don’t have to download a separate app. COVID-19 Exposure Notifications are enabled only if a user proactively turns it on. Users decide whether to enable this functionality and whether to share information through the system to help warn others of possible exposure.