“COMBAT COVID APP” Appears To Be Dated Technology
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The highly publicized COVID-19 tracking app promoted by Palm Beach County officials seems to be using outdated technology and requires a phone number while claiming to be completely anonymous.
But the most concerning — and ineffective — function of the “Combat COVID” app, an app that is supposed to alert you when you are near or come into contact with people infected with COVID-19, is that it must run in the “foreground” of your iPhone. (The app is also available for Android phones. It was not immediately clear if Android use also requires constant manual attention).
…the most ineffective function of the “Combat COVID” app, an app that is supposed to alert you when you are near or come into contact with people infected with COVID-19, is that it must run in the “foreground” of your iPhone.
In the most simplest of explanations: your email, your WeatherBug app, your stock apps and your sports scores all function in the background. You don’t think about them. You don’t have to do anything. When an email arrives, when lightning is in the area, when your favorite stock hits a certain price point, you receive an alert on your phone. Those apps are working in the background.
But the COMBAT COVID app specifically says “be sure to keep the app open and let it run in the foreground as much as possible. This is required to transmit the signals.”
It’s unclear why a brand new app created in 2020, with life and death importance, would need to be in the “foreground.” It’s also unclear why Palm Beach County chose dated technology instead of working with Apple and Google — two companies working together for a state of the art COVID-19 tracking and notification system.
And while Palm Beach County officials — constantly — discuss that several portions of the county have little trust for government, an app asking for a phone number is a non-starter. The app guarantees anonymity on multiple screens, but if you’re providing a phone number, you’re providing personal data.
The purpose of the Palm Beach County app is to alert users to their proximity of others — also using the app — who have told the app that they have tested positive for COVID-19. It’s unclear how many people will trust an app, provided by Palm Beach County, with that type of medical information.
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