June 19, 2020
LANSING – In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Attorney General Dana Nessel and a bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general asked Google and Apple to ensure all contact tracing and exposure notification apps related to COVID-19 adequately protect consumers’ personal information.
Specifically, the coalition asked Google and Apple to guarantee that such apps, when available to consumers, are affiliated with a public health authority and removed from Google Play and the Apple App Store once no longer needed by public health authorities.
In a letter sent Tuesday to the chief executive officers of Apple and Google, the attorneys general acknowledge that while digital contact tracing and exposure notification tools are valuable in understanding the spread of COVID-19 and assisting public health authorities, these same technologies pose a risk to consumers’ privacy.
"Technology can provide valuable resources like digital contact tracing and enhance our understanding of this deadly virus, but that tool must be wielded appropriately so it does not infringe upon the privacy of our residents,” Nessel said. “Google and Apple must minimize these risks to consumers’ personal information, including sensitive health information.”
The coalition expressed concern regarding contact tracing and exposure notification apps available to consumers in Google Play and the App Store, particularly the “free” apps that use GPS tracking, offer in-app purchases, and are not affiliated with any public health authority or legitimate research institution.
To protect consumers without interfering with public health efforts to monitor and address the spread of COVID-19, the letters ask Google and Apple to: