On Friday, local time, four U.S. senators – Bob Menendez, Kamala Harris, Cory Blumenthal and Richard Blumenthal – wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook,media reported. They expressed concern about the “security of Private Health Data for Americans” for recently released COVID-19 websites and apps.
The senator asked Cook about Apple’s data-sharing practices and safeguards, and whether the COVID-19 app complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). They also want details about Apple’s development agreement with federal or state governments for the app.
Announcing the app and website developed in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the White House Coronary Virus Task Force and FEMA, Apple has said that any data provided by users on the COVID-19 website or the app will not be shared by any other government agency designated on the COVID-19 website. Apple collects very little information, such as how people use the site, for bug fixes.
Apple does not collect user answers from the filter. To help improve the site, Apple has gathered some information about how users use it. The information collected is not used to identify you.
In addition, Apple says it does not require users to log in to use the app, and that the data is not associated with the user’s Apple ID and does not require any personally identifiable information.
Consistent with Apple’s strong commitment to user privacy, COVID-19 applications and websites are designed to protect the privacy and security of all user data. These tools do not require logging in or associated with the user’s “Apple ID”, and the user’s personal response is not sent to Apple or any government organization.
Apple first launched its COVID-19 website and app on March 27. It is a screening tool where users can answer questions about symptoms, exposure risks, and so on to get CDC advice on what to do next, such as social distance or detection.