FILE – This Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social platforms have been waging a fight against online misinformation and hate speech for two years. With the U.S. midterm elections coming soon on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, there are signs that they’re making some headway, although they’re still a long way from winning the war. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Am I way behind the times? I happened to catch the very end of a piece on the local ABC affiliate last night (Wednesday, May 27th). Much to my surprise, the reporter said that Google and Apple had included their COVID-19 tracing app in an update to either the Android or iPhone system. They then proceeded to describe how to find it on either an Android or iPhone. I will include instructions at the end of this diary so you can check your phone. I also found an article that gives a little more information about which iPhone update included the tracing app and how to find it on an iPhone. On the Android, it’s called COVID-19 Exposure Notifications and on iPhone, it’s called Exposure Notifications (perhaps ‘app’ is the wrong word, but I’m not sure what else to call it).

I knew Google and Apple were working on something like this, but I never dreamed it would be covertly installed on my phone. Naturally, I grabbed my phone and followed the steps to see if the app was there and voila!, there it was. Call me crazy, but I consider this an invasion of my privacy. Even though it’s not working quite yet, or at least they say it isn’t, I did not ask for it to be installed. The last time I checked, I’m the one who is paying for this phone, so I should at least have a say on what gets downloaded on it. I know updates frequently include apps or whatever, so I check as often as I manage to remember and delete everything I can without messing up my phone. I’ve tried to find a way to delete the COVID-19 tracing app from my phone, but it’s not like other apps, there’s no icon or other way to access it.

As I understand this, the tracing app will not work until you download yet another app from your local health department when they have one available. Apparently, Apple and Google are working on a way to make this work without the need for a secondary app. Another component necessary for it to work is Bluetooth. I keep my Bluetooth turned off, so that’s not an issue. They also claim that there will be no identifying personal information tied to the app as each user will have some kind of numerical ID or something and that the program cannot be hacked. I don’t know about you, but I trust these two entities about as much as I trust the Democrat party. Unfortunately, the hackers are every bit as clever as the creators, as has been demonstrated over and over lately.

I might just be paranoid, but this disturbs me to no end. I resent Google and Apple thinking they can put something as controversial as a tracking app on my phone without my permission. It’s wrong.

As for how to find the app on your Android, go to Settings, Google settings and it should be the first thing you see under ‘services’. Here’s a link to an article that explains how to find it on an iPhone. I’m looking forward to seeing how many of you discover this on your phone.

https://www.howtogeek.com/674272/how-to-turn-off-covid-19-exposure-logging-and-notifications-on-iphone/