More details on Google’s forced install of Covid-tracking app on phones in Massachusetts

Massachusetts launched a COVID tracking app, and uh, it was automatically installed?!

Source: Even creepier COVID tracking: Google silently pushed app to users’ phones | Ars Technica

Not only was it automatically installed, it does not appear with in the apps listed on your device. You can only see it if you go to the Google Play store, look up the app, and it shows as already installed on your device. You cannot uninstall the tracking app.

Update – yeah, it was stupid, creepy and tone deaf:

Elsewhere in the United States, uptake levels of contact-tracing apps have been “incredibly low,” said Sarah Kreps, director of the Cornell Tech Policy Lab, which studies the politics of emerging technologies. She called the launch of MassNotify at this stage in the pandemic “somewhat baffling.”

“It seems to show a lack of understanding about public behavior with respect to these apps, which is that people are more likely to use them if they think that this pandemic is still going on,” Kreps said.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/20/metro/massnotify-too-little-too-late-fight-against-covid/

And as I have pointed out since April of 2020, the technology is not well suited for this application and has a high false positive and high false negative rate. Ultimately, it is not very useful anyway – and of no use if you are vaccinated. As of today, MA has basically met its population vaccination goals.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Global Public Health Program at Boston College, said the consensus is that exposure-notification apps are only somewhat beneficial to public health.

“They make some difference around the edges,” Landrigan said. “It’s not going to make a huge difference, but it’s one of these situations where every little bit helps.”

Landrigan said it would have been preferable if Massachusetts had implemented the app sooner, but that it probably would not have had a significant effect.

The Governor said the app is needed to “embrace our new normal” (24×7 surveillance, government software installed on phones?)

People have been hesitant to use contact tracing apps because of concerns over security and privacy – and then Massachusetts public health pulled this stunt, largely affirming conspiracy theorists.

This action destroys trust not only in Google and their Android OS, but obliterates trust in public health whose authoritarian mind set made them think this was acceptable.