IN Attorney General Asks Apple, Google To Ensure COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps Protect Personal Info

The Office of Indiana Attorney General is joining a coalition to ensure the safety of all Hoosiers.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The Office of the Indiana Attorney General (OAG) is teaming up with 38 other attorney generals to call on Google and Apple to protect consumers' personal information while using contact tracing and exposure notification applications related to COVID-19.  

The coalition of attorney generals is asking that these companies ensure that these applications are affiliated with a public health authority and are removed from Google Play and the Apple App Store once they are no longer needed by the health officials.

A letter sent to the CEOs of Apple and Google recognized the importance and value of digital contact tracing and exposure notification tools; however, these same tools can risk consumers' privacy. 

The main concern expressed by the OGA coalition was that the particular "free" applications use GPS tracking, offer in-app purchases, but are not affiliated with any public health authority or legitimate research institution. 

The letter focuses on protecting consumers without interfering with public health efforts to monitor and address the spread of coronavirus by:

  1. Verify that every application labeled or marketed as related to contact tracing, COVID-19 contact tracing, or coronavirus contact tracing or exposure notification is affiliated with a municipal, county, state or federal public health authority, or a hospital or university in the U.S. that is working with such public health authorities;
  2. Remove any application that cannot be verified as affiliated with one of the entities identified above; and 
  3. Pledge to remove all COVID-19/coronavirus-related exposure notification and contact tracing applications from Google Play and the App Store once the COVID-19 national emergency ends. Additionally, the letters asked Google and Apple to provide written confirmation to their offices once the apps have been removed or an explanation why removal of a particular app or apps would impair the public health authorities affiliated with each app.

“Implementing these limited measures could help protect the personally identifiable information and sensitive health data of millions of consumers during this crisis,” the letter states.

Find up to date COVID-19 information by visiting coronavirus.in.gov.

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