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Google Sneakily Installed COVID Tracking App on Androids

Android users in Massachusetts discovered that Google had automatically installed a vulnerability monitoring app on their devices without their consent.

Complaints have been lodged against Google regarding the company’s alleged practice of automatically installing a COVID-tracking app on mobile devices running Android. In addition, users in Massachusetts discovered that the contact-tracing app used throughout the country, known as MassNotify, had been installed on their personal devices without their permission.

Google Admits to Automatically Installing COVID App

On June 15, 2021, the state of Massachusetts launched MassNotify, and users and consumers quickly began to notice that the app was being stealthily pushed into their devices.

After being encouraged to upgrade the app, many users discovered that they had been using it incorrectly all along. Observations made by customers Reddit is the only platform that achieves this goal, just like the negative reviews of this app that can be found on the Google Play Store.

An announcement made by Google to 9to5Google revealed that the company “automatically dispersed” the application:

We have been collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to enable users to activate the Degradation Notifications System directly from the configurations of their Android phones. This functionality is provided by the Google Play Store and has been incorporated into the unit preferences where it can be accessed. Users do not need to download yet another application as a result.

On the other hand, Google stated that “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications are only allowed when a user turns it on.” After that, users have the option of deciding whether or not to permit this operation and whether or not to share data throughout the entirety of the system in order to assist in warning others of potential exposure.

This indicates that even though the app could have been installed without the user’s permission, the monitoring features of the app will not become active until the user enables exposure notifications. Unfortunately, this does not provide much solace in the least.

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Users of MassNotify are warned about the possibility of being exposed to COVID-19, just like users of a great number of other COVID monitoring apps. After the permission to use the app has been granted, it will make use of Bluetooth to locate other users who have chosen to participate. Users have the ability to send an alert to the app whenever they see someone who seems to have COVID-19, and the app will then notify any users who have recently been in the same location as that person.

MassNotify was put together using the Exposure Notification Express framework that was designed by Google and Apple to make it much easier for countries to produce their own COVID monitoring app. This framework was utilized in the production of MassNotify. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the 29th nation to establish a COVID app, which indicates that the state was somewhat tardy in announcing its vulnerability notification app. However, given the recent decline in COVID cases and the increasing rate at which vaccines are being administered, the app may no longer be relevant.

Has Google Gone Too Far?

Any application that tracks your location is sure to stir up controversy, especially if it is automatically installed on the device you use to do the monitoring. It is disgusting that the MassNotify app was installed on your phone without your permission, regardless of whether the app requires you to opt into monitoring in order to use it.