AG Slatery Urges Apple, Google to Ensure All Contact Tracing Apps Protect Personal Information

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and a bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general asked Google and Apple to ensure all contact tracing and exposure notification apps related to COVID-19 adequately protect consumers’ personal information. Specifically, the coalition asked Google and Apple to guarantee that such apps, when available to consumers, are affiliated with a public health authority and removed from Google Play and the App Store once no longer needed by public health authorities.

In a letter to the Chief Executive Officers of Apple and Google, the Attorneys General acknowledge that while digital contact tracing and exposure notification tools are valuable in understanding the spread of COVID-19 and assisting public health authorities, these same technologies pose a risk to consumers’ privacy.

“While this technology may be a useful tool in understanding the spread of COVID-19, we must consider the risk of providing personal health information and what happens to the data after the present health emergency ends,” said General Slatery.

To protect consumers without interfering with public health efforts to monitor and address the spread of COVID-19, the letters ask Google and Apple to:

  1. Verify that every app labeled or marketed as related to contact tracing, COVID-19 contact tracing, or 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;
  2. Remove any app that cannot be verified as affiliated with one of the entities identified above; and
  3. Pledge to remove all COVID-19 / coronavirus related exposure notification and contact tracing apps, including those that utilize the new exposure notification application program interfaces (APIs) developed by Google and Apple, from Google Play and the App Store once the COVID-19 national emergency ends.

General Slatery joins Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum and Nebraska Attorney General Peterson in signing these letters, along with the attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Click here for a copy of the letter: