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Attorney General warns Oklahomans of contact tracing app privacy issues

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Posted at 2:11 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 15:11:24-04

Attorney General Hunter is warning Oklahomans that certain contact tracing apps could compromise personally information.

Hunter says when certain contact tracing apps are downloaded to a person's cellphone or computer, that person's personal information, including sensitive health information, could be compromised.

Attorney General Hunter joined 38 other state attorneys in sending a letter to the CEOs of both Google and Apple asking them to help protect customers from this threat.

Contact tracing is the way people identify the individuals that might have come in contact with an person that's infected with coronavirus. Due to the coronavirus, web developers and tech companies have created contact tracing applications to help health officials.

While many of these apps are well-intentioned, Oklahomans need to be aware that some are sharing personal information and private health information. Although these practices go against both Apple and Google’s guidelines, there are reports of third parties flying under the radar and accessing this information from people before the rogue applications are removed by the companies. That is why my colleagues from across the country and I are asking both company CEOs to partner with states and implement our recommended actions to better protect citizens.
Attorney General Hunter

In the letter to Apple and Google's CEOs, the attorney generals expressed their concerns about the free contact tracing apps that use GPS tracking, have advertisements, in-app purchases and are not connected to any public health authority.

The attorney generals are asking the CEOs to do the following:

  • Verify every app labeled or marketed related to contact tracing is affiliated with a municipal, county, state, or federal public health authority, or a hospital or university in the United States that is working with such public health authorities;
  • Remove any app that cannot be verified consistent with the above; and
  • Pledge to remove all COVID-19 related exposure notification and contact tracing apps once the COVID-19 national emergency ends.

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