Two of the tech industry’s biggest players are working together “to fight the coronavirus”, announcing a new set of tools that could come to a majority of smartphones around the world.
The new technology, outlined in white papers published by Apple and Google on Friday, relies on Bluetooth wireless radio technology to help phones communicate with one another, ultimately warning users about people they’ve come in contact with who are infected with the coronavirus.
“Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments, and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID‑19 and accelerate the return of everyday life,” the companies said in a joint statement.
Keep in mind that automated smartphone surveillance (including the registration of call list into the government’s database) has already been applied by the secret services in Israel and Singapore, and probably other countries, irrespective of Apple and Google. There is no way of knowing if the US authorities have not done the same, especially since the PATRIOT act legislation in 2001 and the Snowden leaks in 2013. See How To Prevent Your Cell Phone From Being Tracked.
However, the above linked guide does not prevent them from tracking location by checking out your credit card deals and collecting data from traffic cameras and security cameras in gas stations and shops. It is advisable to hold large enough amounts of cash and use them for whatever you buy (up to the legal limit). In any case, remove any Facebook and Google apps from your smartphone (WhatsApp and Instagram are also owned by Facebook), and see the aforementioned guide for how to limit your phone’s location tracking permissions. Use apps like Telegram and Signal for in-app calls and encrypted chats, instead of regular phone calls.