New York’s attorney general has asked Apple and Google to do more to prevent sensitive health data from being collected by third-party contact tracking apps. New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to the two companies urging them to impose stricter restrictions on apps if they want to list them in the App Store because of concerns that some apps are not properly vetted, Business Insider reported.
New York’s attorney general says technology can be a valuable tool to help us fight the coronavirus as businesses reopen and Americans venture outdoors, but some companies may try to use consumer information for advertising, data mining and making unethical profits from the epidemic. Both Apple and Google can be valuable partners to eliminate these bad actors and ensure that consumers are not exploited by those trying to exploit the public health crisis.
Letitia James urged the two companies to commit to increased oversight, allowing only apps associated with federal or state public health agencies to collect personal health data, and wants third-party contacts to track the personal data collected by apps that are not used for targeted advertising or identify ingenuated anonymous users, and she wants third-party apps to scroll through and delete personal health information on a 14-day basis, and companies’ app stores should disclose which apps are government-sponsored and which are made by private developers. Consumers should be able to check the app’s operating entity at any time with the Apple App Store or Android Play Store, and whether the app collects geo-location or other data.
Apple and Google must respond to the New York attorney general’s letter by June 19, according to reports.