NY Attorney General calls for stricter rules on contact tracing apps

Nhs Contact Tracing
Nhs Contact Tracing (Image credit: NHSX)

What you need to know

  • The New York Attorney General has written to Apple and Google.
  • Letitia James wants stronger restrictions on contact tracing apps.
  • Specifically, on apps that don't use Apple and Google's API.

The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, has written to both Apple and Google calling for stronger restrictions on contact tracing apps that don't use Apple and Google's API.

As reported by Business Insider:

New York Attorney General Letitia James is asking Apple and Google to impose restrictions on contact tracing apps that are made available through their app stores.In letters sent to both companies, AG James asked for the tech giants to impose strict measures that would prevent sensitive health data being collected by untrusted sources, and would require these apps to be transparent in how they operate.

The letter specifically refers to apps that don't use apple and Google's contact tracing technology. Apps on this framework can only be submitted by public health authorities, a restriction third-party apps aren't bound to. James wants stronger restrictions on apps that are handling sensitive data:

"We understand that contact-tracing apps (those that do not use the exposure notification API) offered on the Google Play Store are not subject to the same requirements, and so may have different or lesser privacy protections"

The letter calls for Apple and Google to only admit apps from public health authorities, and for developers to be upfront about the data that is being collected and how it's used.

The report notes that only 3 states in the U.S. have committed to using Apple and Google's framework. Overseas, adoption has been much more positive, and today Germany rolled out its contact tracing app to both iOS and Android users in the country.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

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