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