The Defender is experiencing censorship on many social channels. Be sure to stay in touch with the news that matters by subscribing to our top news of the day. It’s free.
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health partnered with Google and Apple to create a smartphone app called MassNotify, which tracks and traces people, advising users of others’ COVID-19 status.
- Massachusetts residents were alarmed when the software appeared on their phones without their consent or notification, raising concerns over privacy and spyware.
- In China, COVID-19 tracking apps have been used as surveillance tools in collaboration with its social credit system, raising red flags that this force-installed app could be tracking residents’ movements and contacts without their knowledge and consent.
- Google is a surveillance agency and a censoring agency with the ability to restrict or block access to websites across the internet, thus deciding what you can and cannot see.
- Peaceful protests work to protect personal privacy and freedom — if you’re a Massachusetts resident and are unhappy that surveillance software was added to your cellphone without your consent, now’s the time to speak out.
For a tool that claims to have been developed “with a focus on privacy,” imagine Massachusetts residents’ surprise when the app suddenly appeared on their Android phones out of nowhere. In a review on the Google Play Store, one shocked parent said:
“This installed silently on my daughter’s phone without consent or notification. She cannot have installed it herself since we use Family Link and we have to approve all app installs.
“I have no idea how they pulled this off, but it had to involve either Google, or Samsung, or both. Normal apps can’t just install themselves. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but this doesn’t count as ‘voluntary.’ We need information, and we need it now, folks.”
The official MassNotify site, operated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, makes no mention that the app will automatically show up on residents’ phones without consent,