Kansas AG asking Google and Apple to police contact tracing apps

KNSS News
June 18, 2020 - 5:20 am
Kansas AG asking Google and Apple to police contact tracing apps

Kansas' Attorney General has joined with 23 other state and territory AG's in asking Google and Apple to police the growing number of contact tracing apps on their platforms.  Contact tracing apps can help contain the spread of COVID-19 and make it easier for state health officials to track and notify those who have come into contact with infected individuals.  However in their letter Schmidt and the other Attorneys General say those apps could also put consumer's personal data at risk. 

“Several COVID-19 related contact tracing apps are already available on Google Play and the App Store. Some of those apps may endanger consumers’ personal information. We are particularly concerned about purportedly ‘free’ apps that utilize GPS tracking, contain advertisements and/or in-app purchases, and are not affiliated with any public health authority or legitimate research institution.” 

The attorneys general specifically ask Google and Apple to verify that every app labeled or marketed as related to coronavirus contact tracing or exposure notification is affiliated with a municipal, county, state or federal public health authority, or a hospital or university in the U.S. that is working with such public health authorities. It also asks them to remove any app that cannot be verified as affiliated with one of the entities identified above. 

Kansas tightly regulates contact tracing, one new provision of Kansas law prohibits state and local governments from using contact tracing apps and similar means of electronic tracking citizens' movements and associations. Thus, no contact tracing app currently available for download to cellphones is lawfully affiliated with any government health authority in Kansas.

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