What info could possibly be necessary with this egregious level of invasiveness NOW?
Massachusetts residents are fighting mad to learn that a covid-tracker app has self-installed on their smartphone devices. In a disturbing disregard for privacy, the new app does not require nor seek consent. Going so far as to even install itself on devices that have parental locks in place.
The National Pulse reports:
Massachusetts state officials recently announced the launch of the “voluntary” MassNotify app, which monitors the spread of COVID-19 in the state. The only problem is the app appears to be installing itself on residents’ and their kids’ smartphones, unbeknownst to users, and without their consent.
The app was developed in cooperation with both Apple and Google, and supposedly works anonymously claiming to “not track” users’ private information. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, said: “As we embrace our new normal, MassNotify is a voluntary, free tool to provide additional peace of mind to residents as they return to doing the things they love.”
The app is supposed to notify users if they’ve been in close proximity to a person that tested positive for Covid. The tracking is done through the device’s Bluetooth. Creators of the app claim that the tracking will be “completely anonymous, with no location tracking or exchange of personal information”. They further promise not to share any location or personal data with Google, Apple, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or other users.
Angry users are venting on the Android App store, voicing their displeasure with the intrusive app:
One female user wrote: “App automatically installed without consent. Weirdly it has no icon and I can’t find any way to open it and see if it could be useful.” Adding, “Bizarre that the state did something like this the very day the state of emergency ended, when over half of adults, myself included, are vaccinated.” And, “What info could possibly be necessary with this egregious level of invasiveness NOW? A year ago it would have made sense.”
On Twitter, one angry poster wrote, “Thank you MA/Google for silently installing #MassNotify on my phone without consent. But I have a request: Can you also silently install an app that makes my phone explode and k*ll me?”
The rollout of MassNotify at a time when COVID-19 cases have declined dramatically and life is edging back to normal has some experts scratching their heads. https://t.co/xISzQ3zd0T
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) June 21, 2021
To date, close to 300- users have reviewed the privacy-invasive app on the Android app store, giving it a one-star rating.