(TheIndependentStar.com) – Most people are familiar with the process of downloading a new smartphone app. Typically, if you want to install one, you have to go to your phone’s app store to do so.
There now seems to be a new installation method, at least for one specific program. The MassNotify app is a product from Google, Apple, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The tool notifies people who have been near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to multiple complaints, however, the program is installing itself on the phones of unsuspecting users.
In Massachusetts, COVID tracker app is installing itself on phones without users’ knowledge or consent. https://t.co/maHOVPUvzI
— James Perloff (@jamesperloff) June 20, 2021
Developers say the app will not track information about users or share any personal data. It is supposed to be voluntary to use, but the ghost install says otherwise. Understandably, people are upset at this invasion of privacy.
As of June 19, 2021, there were almost 300 one-star ratings on the app store page for MassNotify due to the errant download function.
Users say there is no icon for the app, and they cannot access it at all. However, they keep getting notifications about the program’s background operation. Even if a user uninstalls the app, it reinstalls itself.
According to Mass.gov, this is a program rather than an app. It activates within the phone settings, but the official privacy notice says users have to activate it themselves, which is not what appears to have happened.
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