There has been no shortage of discussion between Apple and Google when it comes to contract tracing apps and how they can benefit us. It looks like the functionality has finally found its way to our iOS devices.
Like most people, when an update comes out for iOS, I blindly hit accept. I don’t look at what the updates entail as we assume it to be a security or to fix for a bug or glitch from the previous updates. Even more so if there is another update shortly after the last one.
When iOS 13.5 finished the update, I clicked ‘ok’ and thought nothing of it. Then, this morning, I was asked if I had seen the COVID addition in the update. I felt a little silly when I said no. So I went to Settings -> Privacy -> Health and then boom. Directly above, my ‘Headphone Audio Level’ is an entire section for COVID-19 Exposure Logging. The note in my device says that the tracing can only be activated when turned on and paired with an authorized app.
This tracking interacts via BlueTooth. As you are out living your life, your device will exchange random codes with other devices in the facility. The app will keep a log for 14 days. Should you test positive for COVID-19, you can share this information via the random code attached to your device. The app will let anyone within 14 days know that you have tested positive.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think it is a great way to notify people that you’ve been around that you have been exposed and they can take precautions. This type of information could save lives should one of your friends. It is crucial to protect segments of the population that are the most vulnerable. There is not a lot of work required should this happen to you other than allowing the app to let your network know.
Where my concern comes in is where the technology is going. What happens after COVID-19 is in the past? Will Apple send out an update getting rid of this functionality and rendering it useless? My question is, what is to stop Apple from keeping this on and having access to anyone you are in contact and how often? I realize that we are all connected, and tracking our whereabouts is pretty straightforward. However, this seems like it is going to the next level. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!