With COVID-19 still on the loose, a big question should be asked, are Coronavirus Contact Tracing apps safe to download?
Recently, there has been a lot of action being done about certain apps that may cause a potential security risk.
A few of the apps that are currently in question are both TikTok and WeChat. Both of these apps allegedly pose a huge security threat.
Now, what about the newer apps on the market? What about the app that actually warns people if they have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19?
The Washington Post’s take on the coronavirus contact tracing app
Reported by the Washington Post, there have been 35 members of their group to test America’s very first coronavirus contact tracing app known as the Covidwise.
The test was done in the state of Virginia. There are also similar apps made by the state health departments themselves just like Covidwise.
Similar apps are currently available in North Dakota, Wyoming, and Alabama. The apps in the first two states are known as the Care19 Alert while Alabama uses the Guidesafe.
In totality, there are 20 states and territories that are currently developing apps that will be able to cover about half of the entire US population.
The big question to be asked is is the app safe? Does the app invade the users’ privacy?
These are questions that a lot of people have been asking ever since the recent security breaches experienced by companies as big as Google themselves.
These contact-tracing apps have given pretty mixed results. Some of them were successful and practical while others were a waste.
In order to fully test out and discover the maximum potential of this technology, there has to be a huge number of people using it.
Will the app spy on you?
According to an article by the Washington Post, the Covidwise app doesn’t actually collect the location on your phone.
Instead of doing this, the app uses a different system that helps the phones remember who you’ve been around with without having to know where you were.
To simplify, there are other apps like the weather app that actually put more risk on your privacy in comparison to this app.
How does the app work?
The Covidwise actually listens for different Bluetooth chirps sounding from other phones nearby.
The surrounding phones actually give off random codes and easily change frequently. These codes do not actually contain any of the personal information of the people around you.
Your phone will then store these codes for a total of 14 days just in case a certain person you’ve made contact with tests positive for coronavirus.
After two weeks, Covidwise simply deletes the data.
If a certain person using Covidwise eventually tests positive, the patient can then input the diagnosis inside the app by simply entering the six-digit code the health department provides.
The code gives Covidwise the go signal to alert the phones who have had close encounters with the positive patient without having to share anything about their identity.
This coronavirus contact tracing app apparently protects the users’ identity.