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COVID-19 tracking in Google play services

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by tmac37, May 20, 2020.

  1. tmac37

    tmac37 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Firstly who knows about the COVID-19 notifications that is hidden within the Google play services app, and second can it be removed from the app itself!

    mikedt likes this.

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  2. tmac37

    tmac37 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Screenshot of COVID-19 notifications

    Attached Files:

  3. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Didn't know, but it's no huge surprise: Google and Apple have both been talking about introducing features for Covid tracking and notification into the OS rather than just apps, and the one way that something like that could be rolled out widely would be by building it into Play Services (since if you actually put it in the OS itself it will only get to those devices that get OS updates, which depends on manufacturers and carriers).
    MoodyBlues and mikedt like this.
  4. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    My Huawei phone received it a couple of nights ago. I don't think it can be removed, not without removing Google Play Services completely, or somehow rolling it back to a previous version. I believe it can only work if the phone's Bluetooth is turned on, because it uses BLE to ping and track other phones in your immediate area. So if your Bluetooth is off, it's not tracking you.

    Thing with this, how does a phone know if the user actually has Covid-19 or not?. There's nothing in the settings or system apps, like ARE YOU INFECTED WITH COVID-19, YES or NO?
    #4 mikedt, May 20, 2020
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
    MoodyBlues likes this.
  5. The_Chief

    The_Chief Accept no imitations!
    VIP Member

    I don't understand how all this COVID-19 tracking is not an egregious violation of health privacy. In the United States, we have a LAW called HIPAA: Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, which prohibits agencies from disclosing personal health information about a patient to anyone not authorized by the patient to receive it. Yet here's the Tennessee Department of Health, disclosing the identity of COVID cases to law enforcement! You think they'd do that with HIV cases? Or people with clinical depression? If someone has MRSA (highly contagious), will the Department of Health send that information out? NOT A CHANCE! But a pandemic comes along and people lose their minds! This is a class action lawsuit about to happen.

    puppykickr and mikedt like this.
  6. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I would guess that this is a service related to the new API they have introduced, but requires an app using that API to make use of it. I know that several countries have rolled out apps using the new APIs, but the separate app is still needed.

    The UK government has of course done just what know-nothing brexiters do with everything: decided that they should go it alone and made a mess of it...
    mikedt likes this.
  7. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    I look at this Apple-Google venture to be more of a boring, incidental yawn. The topic has been a flurry of discussion online for weeks now, and the code has been vetted and verified by several independent security analysts as valid and following the privacy and security statements that Apple and Google have published. But as @Hadron commented, it's just an API. Despite all the moral outrage the code itself isn't some kind of personal data mining violation it's not assessing anyone's status and retaining anything in a covert database, it's a contact tracing service.
    The problem is what kind of apps will be implemented to use this API, and by whom. That's the diversion.
    mikedt likes this.

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