Contact-tracing App Caught Sharing Location Data With Foursquare

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Contact tracing apps are emerging to be problematic day by day as they violate thier own privacy policies. This is what happened now with the Care19 app.

This app is developed for the North Dakota Department of Health by developer ProudCrowd, was intended to assist health officials in fighting against Coronavirus by logging users’ location data. Now, a new report from Jumbo Privacy revealed that the Care19 app also sends users’ location data to Foursquare.

With this new finding, Jumbo highlighted the risks inherent in contact-tracing apps. When you have software designed to log your location, or your interactions with other people, and then share that data, you run the risk of said data ending up in unintended hands. 

“This location data is private to you and is stored securely on ProudCrowd, LLC servers,” reads the policy at the time of this writing. “It will not be shared with anyone including government entities or third parties unless you consent or ProudCrowd is compelled under federal regulations.”

Although the privacy policy of the app says that the data will not be shared with any third-party, Jumbo finds tracing that the location data was shared with Foursquare which is a third-party.

Care19 Data Sharing

“The Care19 application user interface clearly calls out the usage of Foursquare on our ‘Nearby Places’ screen, per the terms of our Foursquare agreement,” Tim Brookins, developer of the app explained over email to the Washington Post. “We will be working with our state partners to be more explicit in our privacy policy.”

On the other hand, Foursquare told the Washington Post that it discards the location data received via Care19 and does not monetize it. However, the actual fact is that such data was being sent undermines users’ trust in contact-tracing apps and highlights the very real privacy concerns the apps present. 

“We hope that these findings will help the health agencies that are currently working on similar apps to make sure privacy is respected,” writes Jumbo CEO Pierre Valade.

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