Both states relied on North Dakota app maker ProudCrowd to make Care19 free of charge to anyone with an Apple or Google Android, The Washington Post reported. The report was based on an analysis from privacy software maker Jumbo, which found that the app maker shared data to FourSquare, a location-data provider for marketers.
“Should this have been vetted? Yes. We are following up on that as we speak,” Vern Dosch, North Dakota’s contact-tracing officer, told WaPo. “We know that people are very sensitive.”
Neither Apple nor the South Dakota Health Department have responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment. Apple told WaPo that it’s investigating the review.
ProudCrowd confirmed to WaPo that the app shared some non-commercial use data with FourSquare. The Google Android version of Care19 obscures the data it shares to FourSquare, ProudCrowd said. (RELATED: Sen Hawley Asks Big Tech Not To Hide Behind Their ‘Corporate Shield’ On Privacy Issues)
Foursquare does “not use the data in any way and it is promptly discarded,” spokeswoman Jennifer Yu told WaPo. “Essentially, any data we might receive is immediately discarded.”
Care19 reminded people where they’ve been so they can retrace their steps and determine if they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, before spreading to the United States, where it has reportedly killed nearly 100,000 people.
If users test COVID-19 positive, then they can use the app to share data with the state’s Department of Health. The app is voluntary.
Care19 uses a Foursquare service called Pilgrim SDK to convert location data as latitude and longitude into the names of recognizable places, according to the app’s maker, Tim Brookins of ProudCrowd.
“If it doesn’t have a strong privacy framework, it will undermine consumer confidence,” Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington told WaPo.
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