December 5, 2020

Google and Apple do not install apps against Covid-19: it is a WhatsApp hoax – La Provincia


A chain ofWhatsAppis alerting Spanish users ofmobileswith iOS and Android operating systems thatGoogleandManzanahave started to installr secretly and without your permission close contact notification appswith infected byCovid-19. Actually, it is a hoax that circulates on the platform.

Google and Apple last week launched theirJoint Coronavirus Contact Notification APIthroughBluetooth, a tool compatible with both systems that can be used by applications developed by healthcare institutions around the world.

Now, with the diffusion of the compatibility of the latest versions ofiOS13.5 andAndroid10 With the API, WhatsApp users in Spain have begun to receive a message, collected by Maldita.es, which alerts that Google is installing“a Covid application” on Android phones “secretly” and “without permission”. Other similar chains say the same about Apple’s iOS system.

This message is false because no application is being installed, but the system has entered the compatibilityd so that the applications developed by the health authorities with their APIs work.

Features introduced by iOS and Android onlyThey can be used by official applications that the user downloads voluntarily.

So far, only Switzerland has developed an app with the Google and Apple API. InSpain, the competence lies with the Ministry of Health, which so far has not launched any notification app.

Likewise,to find out if the mobile is “infected”,the chain message recommends that Android users go to the settings application, click on ‘Google’ and check if they have the ‘Notifications of exposures to COVID-19’ section.

Although this section is indeed in the system, it does not mean that there is any application installed. In fact, by clicking on this menu, Google reports that virus exposure notifications are not enabled, andinstead recommends opening an available application.

In addition, the chain message warns that these toolslead to the “state of vigilance”. However, Google and Apple have already reported when presenting their APIs that the data they use is anonymised through a system of beacons and keys that does not identify the user or save the location.

Precisely, the Spanish Government, through theSecretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence,Carme Artigas has recently criticized coronavirus tracking apps for considering that they can “impose technical standards”.

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