Water and oil do not mix well, and even when shaken, they will separate again. Enter in the Covid-19 Pandemic to shake Apple and Google into an unlikely partnership. That’s right, Google, who continues to develop the Android operating system (Initially developed by Android Inc) used on millions of cell phones now is joining forces with Apple to track you. Wait, that’s not what they call it. In an online article dated April 13, 2020 on the website VOX, Adam Clark Estes and Shirin Ghaffary wrote “They are joining forces to build an opt-in contact-tracing tool using Bluetooth technology that could help public health officials track the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.” OK, I get this. We all opt-in to an app that will track you wherever you go and record all those who enter into your phone’s Bluetooth bubble. If someone happens to test positive for COVID-19, you simply let everyone recorded in your phone know. Nothing could certainly go wrong here, right?
The road to disaster is paved with good intentions. Here, the article reports that app is “designed to be anonymous” and herein lies the problem. What happens when someone undesigns that part “to be anonymous”. On top of that, the app is recording your connections wherever you go. The Vox report says, “…technology that could help public health officials track the spread of COVID-19…”, so what happens to all the data collected not necessarily needed specifically for public health tracking? Who gets that? I bet if you look at that 1,000+ word Privacy Notice that no one reads before hitting ACCEPT, you will find the answer. Most certainly you will see that your “free” app comes at the cost of turning over your private life to no other than Apple and Google who always have your best interests in mind, again right?
This is not the first time Apple partnered up with one of its major competitors. Back in the early days of home computers, Apple and Microsoft worked together on some projects. Then, Microsoft released Windows 1.01, and it looked very similar to the Apple's Macintosh GUI in some features. Only after Microsoft threatened to stop development of MS Word and Excel for Mac did the spat end about how the similarities of the two came into play.
Time will tell how well the oil and water mix with Apple and Google, but for this Wired Guy, I’m not downloading this app when it comes out. And that why I’m Wired Up!
Check out the VOX article Apple and Google want to turn your phone into a Covid-tracking machine here: https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/4/10/21216675/apple-google-covid-coronavirus-contact-tracing-app