Apple responds to false Facebook claims about contact tracing update in iOS 13.5
What you need to know
- Hysterical myths regarding Apple's exposure notification have started appearing on Facebook.
- Some users have taken to sharing screenshots of iOS 13.5, warning friends that it will automatically allow authorities to track their locations and who they meet.
- The posts have been fact-checked by Facebook, and Apple has released a response to Reuters.
Apple has issued a statement in response to several false posts on Facebook regarding the exposure notification feature in iOS 13.5.
As Reuters reports:
Several posts cited by Reuters from Facebook (and it would be Facebook), reveal a severe misunderstanding of the technology and fearmongering. One user wrote:
One post in a group titled #ReopenNY further stated:
Whilst the screenshots of iOS 13.5 themselves are legitimate, where these people got the rest of their information is anyone's guess. As a spokesperson for Apple has confirmed to Reuters, exposure notification cannot track your location. Furthermore, the tracing of contact between people using Low-energy Bluetooth can only be enabled if you download an app from a public health agency:
The sharing of a positive test result for COVID-19 also requires express user consent before this is shared. Users can also turn off exposure notifications at any time. In conclusion, the Reuters fact-checking team states:
Thankfully, all of the posts cited by Reuters have been labeled by Facebook as potentially misleading. If you are at all concerned about contact tracing, or Apple and Google's Exposure notification feature, check out our recent in depth look at the technology.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9
Not this this API actually does this, but if there really were a way to determine that you like *had* COVID-19, then your consent or lack thereof shouldn't determine whether you get tested. We have all sorts of precedent for this, TB for instance.