Google and Apple officially banned location tracking from their planned COVID-19 contact tracing app, as people around the U.S. had concerns about their digital privacy and who would be able to use their data.
In an April survey from the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of respondents said they didn’t think location tracking would have a big impact on stopping the spread of COVID-19. Overall, respondents were split on whether cell phone data would help in any way on stopping the spread of the virus, with over 50 percent saying it’s unacceptable for the government to use cell phone data in any way in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, a survey showed that Americans were split on whether they’d use a contact tracing app if it were released. With location tracking now off the table, the app would rely even more heavily on people willingly entering data on where they’ve been and different symptoms they’re showing. Experts believe over 60 percent of Americans need to be using a contact tracing app in order for it to effectively stop the spread of the virus, and it’s looking like at least 50 percent of the U.S. will not participate at launch.