Apple responds to lawmakers’ concerns of COVID-19 screening site

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apple The new COVID-19 app and website provide the latest information and guidance from the CDC for users across the US.
Photo: Apple

Apple has responded to US lawmakers’ concerns regarding the company’s COVID-19 screening site that was created in coordination with the CDC and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA.

Earlier this month, lawmakers demanded proof that the new tools protect citizens’ privacy. In its letter addressed to senators Robert Menendez, Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris and Cory A. Booker, Apple details how its site was designed to protect users’ rights during this important time.

The entire letter can be viewed online. Apple addresses eight questions throughout the letter. Topics covered include whether the screening site and app are subject to HIPAA, data retention policies, Apple’s commitment to not sell the data and making the site available to people with disabilities.

“Access to important information and guidance regarding individual health or the health of a loved
one should not require individuals to compromise their privacy rights,” Apple wrote in its letter. “Rather, it is in times like these, that our commitment to protecting those rights is most important. Our COVID-19 app and website were designed with that in mind.”

Timothy Powderly, Apple’s senior director of government affairs, signed the letter which was sent out on Friday, April 9, 2020.

Apple’s COVID-19 screening site and apps asks visitors a series of questions to determine their level of risk and access exposure. The site provides a list of symptoms of COVID-19. Once all the questions are answered, users receive CDC recommendations of the next steps to follow. The site will tell you if you should get a test or if it’s possible you’ve been exposed.

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