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Nessel Issues Consumer Alert on Benefits, Drawbacks of Smartphone Tracking Features

LANSING – At a time when social distancing has caused millions of people around the country to rely heavily on social media and smartphones, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today issued a consumer alert related to those devices and just how much personally identifiable information they could be collecting and sharing.  

“Our cell phones have become an essential communication tool. Because of that, I am committed to ensuring that Michigan consumers know the facts behind digital tracking and information-sharing,” said Nessel. “These technological advances may cause some to feel their privacy is being compromised, but those same advances are also providing us with unique opportunities like contact tracing to combat COVID-19. I want every Michigander to know how to ensure their smartphones are helping combat this pandemic without invading our privacy.”   

Nessel’s consumer alert provides information on whether smartphones are listening, how to disable certain tracking activity, and sheds light on how some monitoring can be beneficial, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Contact tracing is one such benefit, and it continues to be a valuable tool in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 here in Michigan and across the nation. Contact tracing helps protect families and communities by tracking down anyone who might have been infected by a person who was recently diagnosed. Those who came in contact with an infected person are notified so they can quarantine themselves and prevent further spread of the virus. 

Click here to read the full consumer alert. 

For more information on Consumer Protection issues, head to the Michigan Attorney General Consumer Protection website

Residents who wish to report issues are encouraged to file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team